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Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma to make season debut on Saturday

Hisashi Iwakuma (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) Hisashi Iwakuma finished third in AL Cy Young Award voting last season. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Hisashi Iwakuma, who strained a tendon in the middle finger of his right (throwing) hand working out in the offseason, will make his season debut in Houston on Saturday afternoon, according to Greg Johns of MLB.com.

Iwakuma's injury didn't require surgery but he was forced to wear a splint and wasn't permitted to begin throwing until late March.

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Iwakuma made a rehab start on Sunday, allowing three runs (two earned) in four innings for Triple-A Tacoma. The 33-year-old was an All Star last year, finishing the season 14-6 with a 2.66 ERA and 185 strikeouts in 219 2/3 innings.

In two big league seasons, he is 23-11 with a 2.84 ERA in 63 appearances (49 starts) with 286 strikeouts and two saves.

Seattle wanted Iwakuma to start the series opener on Friday to keep him on regular rest, but had to adjust due to Wednesday's rainout in New York.

The Mariners (12-14) have won five of six following an eight-game losing streak.

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