Hisashi Iwakuma SP SEA 2 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 3 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 5 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 6 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 8 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 12 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 18 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 20 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.

Hisashi Iwakuma SP SEA 20 Days

Hisashi Iwakuma (finger) was cleared by doctors on Friday to resume a normal throwing program.

The right-hander will move forward without restrictions, so now it's just a matter of getting him arm game-ready. That is still likely a month-long process, but at least he's moving in the right direction. Iwakuma should be back with the Mariners sometime around May 1.

Hisashi Iwakuma SP SEA 25 Days

Hisashi Iwakuma played catch Monday for the first time since straining his right middle finger.

Iwakuma still doesn't have full range of motion in that finger so he wasn't able go go all out, but the right-hander told reporters that he felt "good." He registered an outstanding 2.66 ERA across 219 2/3 innings last season and will continue to aim for a mid-to-late April debut.