SEATTLE -- Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma is operating at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to landing his second straight American League All-Star berth after missing April with a torn tendon in his right finger, but the 33-year-old has two more starts to make his case before pitchers are selected for the team on July 6.
Iwakuma is 5-3 with a 3.04 ERA in 10 starts since coming off the disabled list on May 2. He'll face the Red Sox in Wednesday's 7:10 p.m. PT series finale at Safeco Field, then lines up against the Astros on July 1 at Minute Maid Park.
Fans can cast their votes for starting position players at MLB.com -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 8:59 p.m. PT. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15, on FOX.
Iwakuma raised his national profile last year when he finished third in the AL Cy Young Award voting after going 14-6 with a 2.66 ERA in 33 starts. He was 7-4 with a 2.60 ERA in 18 starts when last year's All-Star squads were announced, so he'll have six fewer starts this year when the club is named.
But if the Japanese standout pitches well in his next two outings, he could still field a pretty strong case to be included as one of the top pitchers in the American League.
"Stuff-wise and pitchability-wise, yeah," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "Obviously missing a month is going to hurt him when people look at the numbers. But is he deserving? Yeah. Will he make it? I can't answer that. You never know. He might still be in the running."
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.