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Paxton expected back Monday vs. Astros

Southpaw has been on DL since July 13 with lower back stiffness
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

ANAHEIM -- Mariners No. 1 starter James Paxton threw a 32-pitch bullpen session without any issues with his lower back prior to Friday's game against the Angels and expects to come off the 10-day disabled list to start Monday vs. the Astros at Safeco Field.

The 29-year-old lefty has been on the DL since July 13, but has only had to skip one start due to the All-Star break. He threw just two-thirds of an inning in his last outing on July 7 in Colorado, then was scratched from his scheduled return on Tuesday when the back stiffened up after a 40-pitch bullpen session three days earlier.

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ANAHEIM -- Mariners No. 1 starter James Paxton threw a 32-pitch bullpen session without any issues with his lower back prior to Friday's game against the Angels and expects to come off the 10-day disabled list to start Monday vs. the Astros at Safeco Field.

The 29-year-old lefty has been on the DL since July 13, but has only had to skip one start due to the All-Star break. He threw just two-thirds of an inning in his last outing on July 7 in Colorado, then was scratched from his scheduled return on Tuesday when the back stiffened up after a 40-pitch bullpen session three days earlier.

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"As long as I come in good tomorrow, I'll be ready to go," Paxton said after his latest tune-up. "I threw everything. Felt really good. Nothing is holding me back. As long as I come in tomorrow and feel like I do today, I'll be ready to go."

Paxton (8-4 with a 3.70 ERA in 20 starts) said he's done more stretching and icing this past week and noted the warm Southern California weather can only help as well.

"I think the heat is good for me right now and we've got the same heat back in Seattle, so that's good news," he said.

Video: SEA@LAA: Paxton exits in 1st with back stiffness

Paxton said he wasn't apprehensive about Friday's session because he felt fine going into it.

"The last few days I'd been waking up with a little back stiffness, but today I felt really good," he said. "For a while there I felt stiff and had to stretch it out a lot. But now I'm not even thinking about it."

Marte cracks top 10 prospect list
MLB Pipeline came out with its updated 2018 Prospect Lists earlier this week and outfielder Kyle Lewis remains No. 1 on Seattle's list, but the Top 10 already had to be updated on Friday after the Mariners traded Minor League reliever Sam Elledge to the Cardinals for right-hander Sam Tuivailala.

Elledge had been No. 10, so that opened a spot for 16-year-old Dominican shortstop Noelvi Marte to jump into the 10th spot. Marte was just signed to a $1.55 million bonus by the Mariners and has yet to begin his pro career.

Two other recent additions also cracked Seattle's updated Top 10. First-round Draft pick Logan Gilbert out of Stetson debuted as Seattle's No. 3 prospect and top-ranked pitcher, while second-rounder Josh Stowers -- a center fielder out of Louisville -- is at No. 7.

Video: Top Prospects: Logan Gilbert, RHP, Mariners

Erasmo shines in second rehab outing
Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez threw three scoreless innings with one hit allowed in his second rehab start for Triple-A Tacoma on Wednesday and is now slated for another start on Monday at New Orleans.

The 28-year-old has been on the 10-day DL with a strained shoulder since early May, but is drawing close to being ready to rejoin the Mariners in either a starting or relief role if needed.

"Erasmo checked out really good," Servais said. "He cruised through the three innings. His stuff was very good, 89-93 mph range with good sink. The cutter is working good. He feels really good."

The Mariners would like to stretch Ramirez out to five innings or more as a starter and then decide what role he might fill going forward this year.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, James Paxton