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Second outing is smooth sailing for Iwakuma

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Hisashi Iwakuma admitted things are a little subdued around the Mariners' clubhouse with many of Seattle's boisterous personalities and stars departed for the World Baseball Classic, but the 35-year-old went about his business as usual with a pair of scoreless innings in a 14-6 loss to the Indians on Wednesday night.

"It's totally different," Iwakuma said through interpreter Antony Suzuki. "It's totally quiet with some of the guys not here. But it is what it is. We have to fight with what we have right now."

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- Hisashi Iwakuma admitted things are a little subdued around the Mariners' clubhouse with many of Seattle's boisterous personalities and stars departed for the World Baseball Classic, but the 35-year-old went about his business as usual with a pair of scoreless innings in a 14-6 loss to the Indians on Wednesday night.

"It's totally different," Iwakuma said through interpreter Antony Suzuki. "It's totally quiet with some of the guys not here. But it is what it is. We have to fight with what we have right now."

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Iwakuma looked much better in his second start of the spring, allowing just a leadoff double to Bradley Zimmer in the second along with one walk and two strikeouts in a 32-pitch outing that manager Scott Servais noted was "much crisper" than his debut.

"Overall, I was able to keep pretty much all my pitches down," said Iwakuma, who struggled with that in his opener against the Rangers five days earlier. "And my fastball had better life today."

The Mariners are bringing the veteran along slowly, limiting him to two innings in each of his first two starts. He'll bump that up to three innings in his next outing on Monday against the Brewers.

"It's still early," he said. "I have a couple more games to go and I'm sure I'll go longer and build up my arm strength, but as of now, two innings is good for me."

CLASSIC CONTRIBUTIONS

Mariners outfield prospect Tyler O'Neill wasted no time chipping in for Team Canada in its first World Baseball Classic tuneup game in Tampa, Fla., belting a two-run homer off Yankees starter Luis Severino in the first inning of Wednesday's exhibition.

O'Neill wound up 1-for-4 with the two RBIs in Canada's 10-4 loss.

All three Mariners on the Dominican Republic team contributed to a 10-6 exhibition victory over the Pirates in Bradenton, Fla. Robinson Cano went 1-for-2 with a walk while batting second, Nelson Cruz was 0-for-3 with two walks and an RBI hitting fifth and Jean Segura was 1-for-4 with a run scored in the No. 7 spot.

The tournament already began in Tokyo and former Mariner -- and current broadcaster -- Ryan Rowland-Smith pitched one-third of an inning in relief, striking out Norichika Aoki in Australia's 4-1 loss to Japan.

Canada and the Dominican open tournament play against each other Thursday at 6 p.m. ET in Miami, while Mariners right-hander Yovani Gallardo is expected to start for Mexico in its Thursday opener against Italy at 9 p.m. ET in Jalisco, Mexico. Felix Hernandez opens for Venezuela in its first game Friday against Puerto Rico in Jalisco at 9 p.m. ET. All three games can be seen live on MLB.TV and MLB Network.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast.

Seattle Mariners, Hisashi Iwakuma