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Mariners hope their patience with Hisashi Iwakuma finally pays off

After watching Hisashi Iwakuma up close this spring, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik knew there was no way he could turn him loose on a major league mound when it mattered. Not as a starting pitcher, anyway.

Iwakuma kept giving up multiple baserunners in his Cactus League outings and more often than not, they came back to haunt him. But it wasn’t just that. If you watched the opposing hitters step into the box against him, their comfort level seemed uncanny. They would plant their feet, crowd the plate and just dare Iwakuma to throw something they wouldn’t like.

More often that not, he simply served up the dish of their choice. His pitches were flat as pancakes and the odd time he did get any decent movement on them, they sailed harmlessly out of the zone. When he’d fall behind in counts, Iwakuma would try to come back in with a strike and his velocity — at times precariously lower than anyone expected — enabled hitters to easily catch up. Even when he’d get ahead on hitters, sometimes with two strikes, he’d try to throw one of his breaking balls and have them stay flat, fat and hittable. He’d get lucky on a handful of occasions and have balls hit right at people to minimize the damage. But he did not look like a major league starting pitcher.

It didn’t take long for Zduriencik, Eric Wedge and anyone who’s worked with pitchers to notice this. Heck, even media members who don’t work with pitchers were scratching their heads wondering how the Mariners….

via Mariners hope their patience with Hisashi Iwakuma finally pays off | Mariners Blog | The Seattle Times.

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