The Mariners are said to be hoping for a late April return for recovering pitchers Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker.

Unofficially, the hope is that both pitchers can be back by sometime during the third week of April. That sounds pretty specific, but every day counts when a team with playoff aspirations is piecing together most of a rotation early in the year. Walker (shoulder), one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, is said to be doing very well, while Iwakuma (middle finger), who was a brilliant 14-6 with a 2.66 ERA in 2013, may have his splint removed by the end of this week.

They badly need both pitchers.

The Mariners have their ace, Felix Hernandez, and while they won't say it, top left-handed pitching prospect James Paxton is a sure bet to be in the Mariners' rotation, as well. That makes two.

After that, there are a whole lot of questions.