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Iwakuma nearing return, first rehab start

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SEATTLE -- Mariners right-handed pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma is scheduled to make his first rehab start Sunday for Triple-A Tacoma in Las Vegas after a rainout at Cheney Stadium earlier this week forced him to throw a simulated game at Safeco Field.

Iwakuma, who missed all of Spring Training with a strained finger tendon on his throwing hand, is scheduled to throw five innings and max out at 80-85 pitches, according to manager Lloyd McClendon. Assuming there are no setbacks, he'll be ready to stretch his pitch count to 90-95 and go "six or seven" in his next start, McClendon said.

It remains to be seen if that will take place with the Mariners on their 10-game, three-city road trip, or if the club will hold him back for another start in the Minors.

"We'll see how he does," McClendon said. "I'm not ready to say whether or not he'll be with us. I just want him to have a good outing, a healthy outing and then we'll evaluate after that."

Adam Lewis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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