Mariners LHP James Paxton has nearly recovered from his “unathletic moment.”
Prior to spring training, Paxton fell during an agility drill and bruised both forearms. As a precaution, the Mariners kept him from throwing until Monday, when he played catch and reported no issues after the club’s intra-squad game was rained out.
The plan is for Paxton to play long toss Tuesday, take off Wednesday, then resume Thursday before throwing his first spring training bullpen Friday. He told reporters Monday that the recent setback won’t keep him from being ready for the start of the regular season.
“I feel confident that I’ll have plenty of time to get myself ready for those games in April,” Paxton said, according to The News Tribune.
The plan is for Paxton to pitch in a Cactus League game by the middle of the month. If that happens, it’s welcome news for a Mariners club figuring the 26-year-old will fit in the rotation behind the 1-2 punch of Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma. The Ladner, BC., native made 13 starts last season because of a lat strain and left shoulder inflammation, but was dominant when he was on the mound, going 6-4 with a 3.04 ERA in 74 innings.
“I think we’re OK,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “He’s been off about a week. He was built up before then. We had a target date, and he’s certainly going to be back on the mound before then. He should be just fine.”
- Mariners RHP Hisashi Iwakuma and LHP J.A. Happ also threw modified batting practice Monday, with hitters standing at the plate but not swinging after rain forced the club under cover. Iwakuma had the more eventful session, dotting prospect Gabby Guerrero in the back with an errant splitter. Here’s video from 710 ESPN of Iwakuma throwing.
- Mariners LF Dustin Ackley isn’t worrying about platooning with newly-acquired utility man Rickie Weeks.
- Happ is working with pitching coach Rick Waits to make his change-up more effective after struggling with the pitch the past few seasons.
- Mariners LHP Danny Hultzen is set to throw live batting practice Tuesday as the former No. 2 pick continues to bounce back well from major shoulder surgery.
- ICYMI: McClendon announced Sunday that RHP Taijuan Walker is going to start the Cactus League Opener Wednesday at the Peoria Sports Complex against the San Diego Padres in their annual charity game. The AP had this story about Walker’s bid to make the rotation.
- Baseball writer Jonah Keri of Grantland thinks the Mariners might be the best team in the American League. He ranks Seattle No. 3 in the MLB in his pre-season power rankings, while the Los Angeles Angels check in at No. 4. He ranks the Washington Nationals first and Los Angeles Dodgers second.