FULL COUNT: Season begins with many in minors, on DL

The 2014 regular season has begun and former San Francisco Giants’ first baseman Travis Ishikawa made the Pittsburg Pirates’ roster after a strong spring.

One-time fan favorite Kensuke Tanaka begins the year with the Texas Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate Round Rock while his friend Yu Darvish is on the disabled list with back issues. Darvish is throwing extended bullpen sessions and hopes to return to the Texas rotation soon. The Rangers are also reportedly scouting Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney.

Prior to Opening Day, the Oakland Athletics sent shortstop Hiro Nakajima to Triple-A Sacramento, but he remains on Oakland’s 40-man roster with a better chance to be called up this year than last. In Minnesota, former A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki drove in three RBIs in the Twins’ opening loss to the Chicago White Sox.

Kansas City Royals right-hander Jeremy Guthrie will make his season debut against the Sox on April 4 and new outfielder Norichika Aoki has already solidified himself atop KC’s lineup.

Up in Seattle, Mariners pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma is on the disabled list with a strained middle finger, but like Darvish he’s also begun a throwing program. No word on a specific return date.

The defending champion Red Sox are without outfielder Shane Victorino, who has a strained hamstring, but relievers Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara have resumed their roles as setup man and closer.

Former Boston ace Daisuke Mastuzaka was left off the Mets’ roster and was reportedly “shocked” by the snub. He begins the year in Triple-A.

In New York, Hiroki Kuroda opens the year as the Yankees’ No. 2 starter while Masahiro Tanaka is fourth in the rotation. Tanaka makes his major league debut on April 4 in Toronto. Ichiro Suzuki may or may not play because he’s on the bench as a backup outfielder.

Drew Morita, a Yonsei from Kaua‘i, writes from San Francisco. Follow him @drewmorita or e-mail him at drew_morita@yahoo.com.

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