Seattle Mariners Manager Scott Servais said left-hander James Paxton should be able to start Thursday’s series opener in Chicago against the White Sox.
The team hopes this is the same Paxton who pitched into the eighth inning in each of his past two starts and has a 1.59 ERA and 28 1/3 innings pitched his past four starts. The former University of Kentucky standout suffered a bruised left elbow when he was struck by a line drive in the ninth inning of an Aug. 7 victory against the Angels at Safeco Field.
“He came in this morning and gave me the thumbs up,” Servais said. “Pretty much what I expected.
“He’ll throw a bullpen here — a light one — and then slot into the rotation.”
Paxton tossed three scoreless innings in a rehab start for the Tacoma Rainiers on Saturday. He gave up two hits and struck out three.
“He threw the ball well, threw all of his pitches, velocity was good,” Servais said.
Paxton began the season in Triple-A Tacoma. He made his first Mariners start on June 1 and is 4-5 with a 3.53 ERA in 13 starts since.
Paxton was on his way to potentially his first career complete game with one out in the ninth inning against the Angels on Aug. 7 when Andrelton Simmons hit a line that collided with Paxton’s left elbow.
It forced Paxton to leave the game.
But it could have been much worse.
His expected return would bolster a starting rotation that’s piecemealed arms together since his injury and Taijuan Walker’s demotion.
“The goal is to try to get lined up and get consistent,” Servais said. “We got Felix (Hernandez) going in the right direction, Paxton was throwing great before he went down, (Wade) LeBlanc was giving us a chance, (Ariel) Miranda is throwing the ball well since he’s been here, we’d like to eventually, hopefully, fingers crossed we can get Walker going in the right direction and get him back here, too. So we’ll see.”