Feb 13, 2014; Peoria, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma during team workouts at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Seattle Mariners have lost starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma for 4-6 weeks due a finger injury. This is not good news for a team that will need solid starting pitching if they are going to win consistently. In addition, Franklin Gutierrez has been lost for the season. Finally, prized prospect Taijuan Walker has some shoulder soreness and will be limited in spring training.
Not a good way to start the season, particularly since we are barely in the middle of February.
Iwakuma’s timetable puts him very close to being ready for the start of the season, though it is reasonable to assume that the No.2 pitcher in the rotation may need some time to get back into the flow. Fans have to hope that recovery is closer to four weeks than six.
Gutierrez is out for 2014, but is that really a shock? There is hope, and then there is reality. Gutierrez once had a promising career. Now, he may never recover from a variety of nagging physical issues. It is too bad, but sometimes the body rebels.
Perhaps the biggest concern is Walker, who is one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball. It is far too early to panic, but if anything this is going to make the Mariners all the more cautious about rushing their farm system gem. Once upon a time Walker, James Paxton and Danny Hultzen were touted as the “big 3” pitchers that could change the franchise. Today, Paxton is the only one of the three that looks healthy.
A tough start to the season, but there is still time. Iwakuma can return, Gutierrez was not necessarily going to contribute anyway, and Walker may just be experiencing a little bit of normal soreness.
Here is hoping for fast recoveries.