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Iwakuma, Saunders trade spots in starting rotation

Iwakuma, Saunders trade spots in starting rotation

TORONTO -- The Mariners tweaked their rotation for the club's three-game set against the Blue Jays following ace Felix Hernandez's start vs. Toronto on Friday.

Hisashi Iwakuma and Joe Saunders are still starting this weekend, but Seattle flip-flopped their turns in the rotation.

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Iwakuma was originally supposed to be pushed back two extra days and go Sunday due to a blister he has been dealing with on one of the fingers of his pitching hand, but he will now get the ball Saturday.

"We had it set up one way, but we didn't feel the need to push Iwakuma back, because his finger is coming along nicely," manager Eric Wedge said.

Iwakuma has been dominant early on, sporting a 1.67 ERA, and a 0.69 WHIP -- the top mark in baseball -- while holding opponents to a .160 batting average over six starts. The 32-year-old has struck out 37 batters and walked just five, good for a 7.40 strikeout-to-walk-ratio, which ranks fourth among qualified Major League starters.

Saunders is coming off a complete-game victory against Baltimore in which he lowered his ERA by a full run to 5.25. Last September, the last time Saunders pitched in Toronto, he took a perfect game into the sixth inning as a member of the Orioles.

Chris Toman is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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