The procedure removed loose bodies from his shoulder to clear up the pain he experienced all season.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — A few weeks ago, Hisashi Iwakuma admitted he had structural damage in his right shoulder, which had kept him out most of the 2017 season. While he wouldn’t specify what the issue was, he did say he was looking at several options to remedy the problem.
On Wednesday, he underwent surgery to fix the issues. The Mariners made the announcement on Friday that Iwakuma underwent arthroscopic debridement surgery performed by Dr. Keith Meister in Dallas. A debridement surgery typically removes loose bodies and scar tissue from the shoulder. He is expected to be cleared to resume throwing in five months.
Iwakuma, who has a home in Los Angeles, actually showed up to Angels Stadium early Friday afternoon and met with manager Scott Servais.
“He was pretty happy,” Servais said. “He’s already doing range of motion movements.”
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Iwakuma, 36, made six starts in 2017, going 0-2 with a 4.35 ERA with 16 strikeouts and 12 walks. He went on the 10-day disabled list on May 10 with shoulder inflammation and never pitched again. He made numerous attempts to come back, including two rehab starts in mid-June. But the shoulder never bounced back from the outings.
Iwakuma has spent all six years of his MLB career with the Mariners, posting a 63-39 record and 3.42 ERA in 136 starts and 14 relief appearances. But it’s likely he won’t remain with the organization. After signing a one-year contract with options for 2017 and 2018 before the 2016 season, Iwakuma’s $15 million club option for the 2018 season won’t vest. He needed to pitch 162 innings in 2017 or 324 innings combined between 2016 and 2017 or not end the season with an unspecified injury. He will now become a free agent after the season.
Iwakuma said he plans to pitch in 2018 for some team, but it seems likely he will have to sign a minor league contract after missing most of this past season and undergoing the surgery. The Mariners might consider bringing him back on a minor league deal. But they aren’t in a position to put offer him a big league contract.
Iwakuma offered an update on his instagram.