Iwakuma's next start pushed back due to blister issue

Iwakuma's next start pushed back due to blister issue

SEATTLE -- Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, who is fifth in the American League with a 1.67 ERA, will have two extra days of rest before his next scheduled start Sunday in Toronto.

Iwakuma has been bothered by a blister on the middle finger of his throwing hand since Spring Training, with manager Eric Wedge pulling him an inning earlier than normal in most of his starts. But he's still held opponents to a .160 batting average -- third in the AL -- while going 2-1 in six starts.

With an off-day on Thursday, Wedge has tentatively slated Iwakuma to throw the final game of the Blue Jays series as Joe Saunders leapfrogs him in the rotation to pitch Saturday. Felix Hernandez will throw Friday's opener.

Wedge said Iwakuma isn't completely finalized for Sunday just yet though.

"We're still working through that," he said. "A lot will depend on how we see the finger doing in the next couple days and how he feels when he throws his next bullpen."

Iwakuma threw six innings with just one unearned run in Sunday's 2-1 victory over the Angels and said his finger felt better than it had all season.

"That's the best he's come out of a game," Wedge said. "We didn't want to push him one more inning and have it get it back to where it has been, even with the extra time. He's working hard to get over the hump with this thing."

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.