Iwakuma anxious to start regular season

Iwakuma anxious to start regular season
MESA, Ariz. -- Hisashi Iwakuma doesn't speak English, but he spoke for all of his Mariners teammates on Thursday through translator Antony Suzuki, when he noted he's ready for a long spring to be done.

"I'm ready for the season to start any minute," Iwakuma said with a smile. "Right now."

Iwakuma made his final Cactus League start in the Mariners' 6-4 win over the Cubs -- giving up five hits and three runs over four innings, with zero walks and four strikeouts. His outing was cut short slightly by some dry skin that peeled off the middle finger of his throwing hand, though he said it was a common problem in spring and nothing to worry about.

"Nothing of concern," manager Eric Wedge said. "We were going to pull him back anyway. He still threw 55-60 pitches. We were looking to get him to 65. It all worked out well. Obviously there was no reason to push it."

"I feel good, generally," Iwakuma said. "My pitches were a little high today, but I'm prepared for the season to start and just get my feelings ready."

Iwakuma will be the No. 2 starter for the Mariners behind Felix Hernandez, with his first outing on Tuesday against the A's in Oakland.

Iwakuma finished the spring with a 4.26 ERA in six outings, allowing 18 hits in 19 innings with two walks and eight strikeouts.

"He's been very consistent," Wedge said. "He came in strong, he pitched strong, used all his pitches, was crisp really with everything. He's a veteran guy who pitches like a veteran, he makes adjustments well and has a real good understanding of what is working and maybe what's just a tad off. And because he has multiple weapons, it really helps him as a starting pitcher."

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.