Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/3/12

The Seattle Mariners don't know quite what will happen with their rotation after the All-Star break.

Maybe Erasmo Ramirez doesn't spend too much time on the disabled list due to the elbow injury that took him out of his last start. Maybe Blake Beavan gets called back from Class AAA Tacoma.

But for now, at least, it's looking good for Hisashi Iwakuma to get a start or three after the break. He made his first major league start Monday in the Mariners' 6-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles, and while he didn't get the victory, he pitched reasonably well.

Iwakuma, who was a starting pitcher in Japan before signing with the Mariners in the offseason, gave up just three hits in five innings. One of the hits was a three-run homer by Chris Davis, but past that one mistake, Iwakuma got high marks from manager Eric Wedge.

"This one started with Iwakuma," Wedge said. "There was one bad pitch, but he settled back in right after that. I expected that he'd give us a chance to win, and he did that."

The Mariners will get one starter back later in the week when Kevin Millwood pitches the series opener Friday in Oakland.

If Ramirez's elbow problems can be cleared up and he spends the minimum 15 days on the DL, then the Mariners won't need another start from Iwakuma. But that quick of a return for Ramirez seems unlikely, so after being available for bullpen duty in the series at Oakland thanks to the All-Star break, it is probable Iwakuma will get another start, maybe more.

"It was exciting," Iwakuma said of starting. "It's an exciting role, and I did my job tonight."

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