Monday’s game against Detroit kicks off a stretch of 16 of 19 at home that could go a long way toward determining the course of the rest of the Mariners’ season.
But the Mariners were also keeping a close eye on Tacoma and rehab assignments for two players there — pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma and shortstop Jean Segura — that loom pivotal.
Iwakuma had been expected to throw 70-75 pitches Monday night with the team saying if all went well he could return to the starting rotation on Saturday against Houston — Seattle has yet to announce a starter for that game.
Iwakuma, who has been on the disabled list since May 10 with inflammation in his right shoulder, instead threw 49 pitches in two innings, allowing four hits, four runs and two walks, with 32 strikes.
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If Iwakuma can make it back by Saturday then the Mariners’ could be back to having 80 percent of their planned starting rotation available as Felix Hernandez will start on Friday for the first time since going on the DL on April 26, also with right shoulder inflammation.
Segura has been on the DL since June 2 with a high ankle sprain but is scheduled to be the designated hitter Monday night for the Rainiers.
The plan then is for Segura to play shortstop Tuesday night.
If all goes well, he could be back at some point later in the week — if not for the four-game set against Detroit that goes through Thursday then hopefully by Friday when the AL West-leading Astros come to town.
Manager Scott Servais, though, said nothing is yet set on Segura, who is hitting a team-high .350.
“He hasn’t played in a while,’’ Servais said. “High ankle sprain, moving around at shortstop is the biggest issue — lateral movement sometimes can be a little challenging…