The Mariners Wednesday activated LHP James Paxton off the disabled list and, to make room on the 25-man major league roster, optioned RHP Ryne Harper to AAA Tacoma. Paxton was tostart Wednesday night when Seattle, a winner of three in a row, opens an 11-game home stand with the first of two against the Colorado Rockies.
He’s the first of four starting pitchers on the disabled list to return. Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and Drew Smyly are still a ways from returning.
The 28-year-old Paxton was diagnosed with a left forearm strain May 5. Before his injury, he was 3-0 with a 1.43 ERA with 45 strikeouts in six starts. He appeared in in a rehab assignment with AA Arkansas May 26.
The 6-foot-4, 220-pounderhas allowed one earned run or less in five of his six starts, while limiting opponents to a .190 batting average. He opened the season with 23 consecutive scoreless innings, the longest to start the season in Mariners history, besting the previous mark by Mark Lowe (17.2 innings) in 2006.
Harper, 28, did not appear in a game with the Mariners after he was selected from Tacoma Sunday. He was 2-0 with three saves and a 1.89 ERA in 15 relief appearances with Tacoma this season.
Paxton will throw against RHP Antonio Senzatela at 7:10 p.m. The Mariners (24-29) began the day 13 games behind Houston in the AL West but coming off a 4-4 road trip to Washington, Boston and Colorado.