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Hisashi Iwakuma is healthy and ready for his season debut

Mariners' Iwakuma pitches against the Rangers during the second inning of their American League baseball game at Safeco Field in Seattle

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma pitches against the Texas Rangers during the second inning of their MLB American League baseball game at Safeco Field in Seattle April 12, 2013. REUTERS/Anthony Bolante (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

REUTERS

Out since early spring training with a finger injury, Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma is expected to come off the disabled list and make his season debut Saturday against the Astros.

Iwakuma stretched out to 86 pitches in a minor-league rehab start Sunday, so he should be more or less without restrictions versus Houston. He wasn’t particularly sharp in the final tune-up outing, however.

Iwakuma was one of the elite pitchers in baseball last season, throwing 220 innings with a 2.66 ERA and 185 strikeouts. Seattle is still waiting for rookies Taijuan Walker and James Paxton to get healthy to complete what has a chance to be one of the best rotations in the league, but Iwakuma joining Felix Hernandez will provide a huge boost in the meantime.

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