Hisashi Iwakuma has pitched well since moving into Seattle's starting rotation, though he'll have awfully large footsteps to follow on Friday after Felix Hernandez's perfecto against the Rays on Wednesday.
In seven starts since moving out of Seattle's bullpen, Iwakuma has gone 2-2 with a 3.73 ERA. He held the Angels to three runs in seven innings on Saturday.
"He's been throwing the ball well," manager Eric Wedge said. "I thought he was really, really good again. He was more aggressive, more efficient, did a better job early in the count, got some quick outs. He had a really good splitter, nice location and had something on the end of his fastball, too."
Iwakuma gets the call as the Mariners open up a home set against the Twins, who they last faced on May 6. On that day, Nick Blackburn fell to 0-4 as Minnesota dropped a 5-2 contest to Seattle. Blackburn is currently riding another four-game skid and has registered only three quality starts in 18 outings this season. The right-hander (4-8, 7.33 ERA this season) will take the hill on Friday.
"I feel like any time I leave a ball up, or any time a ball catches plate, it's just crushed," Blackburn said. "I don't know if there's zero deception there, I don't know if my stuff at times is just incredibly ineffective. It's just been such a mystery year for me. It's been frustrating."
Twins: Club hopeful Span will avoid DL
Manager Ron Gardenhire didn't pencil Denard Span's name into his lineup on Wednesday, the third consecutive missed game for the center fielder.
Span injured his right shoulder while attempting a diving catch on Sunday.
"He's getting his treatment," Gardenhire said.
Outfielder Darin Mastroianni is batting .355 (11-for-31) over his last 11 games and .358 (24-for-67) over his last 28 games.
The Twins will activate right-hander Anthony Swarzak from the 15-day disabled list prior to Friday's contest in Seattle. The club optioned pitchers Jeff Manship and Luis Perdomo to Triple-A Rochester.
Mariners: Furbush nearing return
Reliever Charlie Furbush could return from a rehab assignment as early as Friday. The lefty is recovering from a strained triceps muscle.
"Yeah, it's getting closer," Wedge said. "Nothing I can really say beyond that. He went two innings and he actually was so efficient, we had him throw another 15 pitches in the bullpen to get him up over 30. He felt good, looked good."
The Mariners are the first team in Major League history to toss a perfect game and have one tossed against them in the same season.
The Mariners outscored the Twins, 14-5, in their three-game set in May.
Opponents are 0-for-16 with runners on base against Mariners reliever Stephen Pryor.