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Paxton on track to return during Giants series

MLB.com

SEATTLE -- James Paxton hadn't thrown off of a mound since a back issue forced a first-inning exit in Anaheim on July 12, but the Mariners' ace got through his normal bullpen session Saturday. He's preparing for his return from the DL, which is expected to be Tuesday against the Giants.

"It felt good, everything all good," Paxton said. "I got up to 40 pitches in the bullpen, let some rip, no problems. Was able to get through my pitches, finish them off, so it was definitely good."

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SEATTLE -- James Paxton hadn't thrown off of a mound since a back issue forced a first-inning exit in Anaheim on July 12, but the Mariners' ace got through his normal bullpen session Saturday. He's preparing for his return from the DL, which is expected to be Tuesday against the Giants.

"It felt good, everything all good," Paxton said. "I got up to 40 pitches in the bullpen, let some rip, no problems. Was able to get through my pitches, finish them off, so it was definitely good."

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Paxton said he didn't experience any pain and was able to throw all of his pitches.

Erasmo Ramirez is another injured starter who made strides toward a return this weekend. The righty threw two scoreless innings in a rehab start on Friday at Triple-A Tacoma, striking out three.

"It feels great being able to pitch and not [have to] worry about soreness in my arm," Ramirez said. "Just be free-minded and just control the strike zone, that's the biggest issue. That's something I was looking for the whole year."

Ramirez said he would make another rehab start Wednesday with the goal of pitching three innings. He added that he would be open to a return either as a starter or a reliever.

With Paxton's return, the Mariners will have five healthy starters in Paxton, Marco Gonzales, Wade LeBlanc, Mike Leake and Felix Hernandez, but accumulating innings is starting to become a concern for three in that group. Paxton and LeBlanc are both on pace to surpass their career highs in innings pitched, and Gonzales has already done so.

David Gottlieb covers the Mariners for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DGottliebMLB.

Seattle Mariners, James Paxton, Erasmo Ramirez