Hisashi Iwakuma SP SEA 1 Day

Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said Friday that Hisashi Iwakuma (finger) will "probably" begin a rehab assignment on Tuesday at Triple-A Tacoma.

Iwakuma had a successful simulated game Friday and will throw one more bullpen session Sunday before beginning a rehab assignment. It's not clear at this point how many rehab starts the right-hander will need, but his early May timetable still appears to be a realistic goal.

Hisashi Iwakuma SP SEA 1 Day

Hisashi Iwakuma (finger) is on pace to begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Tacoma on April 23.

Iwakuma had a successful simulated game Friday and is scheduled for one more bullpen session Sunday before being cleared for game action. It's not clear at this point how many rehab starts the right-hander will need, but he remains on pact for an early May return.

Hisashi Iwakuma SP SEA 4 Days

Hisashi Iwakuma (finger) will throw a simulated game on Friday.

The sim game was originally scheduled for Saturday, but it's been pushed up a day after Iwakuma went through a 51-pitch bullpen session Tuesday with no issues. "He's ready for a game," Mariners pitching coach Rick Waits said. Iwakuma is aiming for an early May return.

Hisashi Iwakuma SP SEA 5 Days

Hisashi Iwakuma (finger) is scheduled to threw a 45-pitch simulated game Saturday in Miami.

Iwakuma, who is working his way back from a strained middle finger, threw a 45-pitch bullpen session on Saturday afternoon and is scheduled to throw another one Tuesday. If all goes well in the simulated game Saturday, the next step could be a minor league rehab assignment. It looks like a return in the early part of May is the most realistic scenario.

Hisashi Iwakuma SP SEA 7 Days

Hisashi Iwakuma (finger) tossed a 45-pitch bullpen session on Saturday afternoon.

Iwakuma did not throw his splitter during the workout but plans to incorporate that pitch in his next bullpen session on Tuesday. The Mariners are hoping he can join their starting rotation by the end of April. An early-May debut might be more realistic.

Hisashi Iwakuma SP SEA 8 Days

Hisashi Iwakuma (finger) is scheduled to throw his second bullpen session on Saturday.

M's skipper Lloyd McClendon indicated that he'll need "a couple more bullpens" before beginning a minor league rehab assignment. He does appear to be making progress toward a return though, and could potentially rejoin the team before the end of April if all continues to go well.

Hisashi Iwakuma SP SEA 10 Days

Hisashi Iwakuma (finger) threw a 34-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday.

The right-hander reported afterward that the session went well. He'll throw another bullpen on Saturday, and when asked about a rehab stint Iwakuma said, "Hopefully soon." He still appears to be on track to be back with the Mariners by the end of the month.

Hisashi Iwakuma SP SEA 13 Days

Hisashi Iwakuma (finger) will begin throwing off a mound in the middle of this week.

Iwakuma will do some long-tossing Sunday before he's officially cleared to throw off the bump. The right-hander will need a handful of bullpen sessions before being cleared to begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Tacoma. He's likely to rejoin the M's rotation in late April.

Hisashi Iwakuma SP SEA 20 Days

Hisashi Iwakuma (finger) has been throwing long toss, and in 10 days will progress to throwing bullpen sessions.

Iwakuma continues to work his way back from a sprained tendon in his right middle finger. Coming off an outstanding 2013 campaign, it looks like he'll be able to rejoin the Mariners rotation at some point before the end of April.

Hisashi Iwakuma SP SEA 21 Days

Mariners placed RHP Hisashi Iwakuma on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 21, with a strained right middle finger.

Iwakuma was cleared Friday to resume throwing baseballs and should be ready to join the Mariners' starting rotation around late April or early May. He had a fantastic 2.66 ERA in 219 2/3 innings last season. The Mariners also placed starting pitcher Taijuan Walker (shoulder) and setup man Stephen Pryor (lat) on the 15-day disabled list Saturday.