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With Felix hurt, Paxton steps up

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

PEORIA, Ariz. -- In a spring when starters Felix Hernandez and Erasmo Ramirez have already been hurt, the Mariners got exactly what they wanted out of left-hander James Paxton on Tuesday in an 11-6 loss to the Padres.

The 29-year-old Canadian threw two scoreless frames in his Cactus League debut, working around a double and a walk. Most important, he emerged unscathed and on target for what the Mariners hope is a big season.

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- In a spring when starters Felix Hernandez and Erasmo Ramirez have already been hurt, the Mariners got exactly what they wanted out of left-hander James Paxton on Tuesday in an 11-6 loss to the Padres.

The 29-year-old Canadian threw two scoreless frames in his Cactus League debut, working around a double and a walk. Most important, he emerged unscathed and on target for what the Mariners hope is a big season.

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Paxton, Marco Gonzales and Mike Leake have all opened the spring with strong outings, and Paxton could be ticketed for his first Opening Day start, particularly if Hernandez doesn't recover quickly from the bruised forearm he sustained when he was nailed by a line drive in his debut on Monday.

"Everything felt good, healthy, ready for my next one," Paxton said after his quick outing.

Paxton said that he needs to iron out some minor mechanical issues, but he felt strong, sitting between 92 mph and 94 mph with his fastball.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"Right now it's about finding my rhythm," he said. "I threw all my pitches today, which was good. I had a hard time getting inside to righties, which is kind of my bread and butter. Because I was leaving early, my hand was getting on the side of the ball a little, and it was sailing on me.

"But we'll get to work on that in the bullpens and stuff. We have some more starts out here this spring, and that's what this all about, getting yourself ready."

Moore struggles vs. Royals

Things didn't go quite as smoothly for the starter in the Mariners' other split-squad game, as Andrew Moore gave up seven hits and six runs in 1 1/3 innings in a lopsided 14-9 loss in Surprise.

Seattle took a six-run lead in the top of the first, helped by a two-run homer by Andrew Romine and a two-run double by Taylor Motter. But the Royals scored 12 runs over the next three frames and rolled to an easy win over a Mariners club consisting mostly of backups and Minor Leaguers.

Injury update

Daniel Vogelbach's bruised right foot healed quicker than expected, and after three days off, the big first baseman was in the lineup on Tuesday at designated hitter in the game against the Royals, going 0-for-1 with two walks. He's expected to return to the field for Wednesday's game.

Ryon Healy took ground balls and did some light drills at first base in the morning workout as he begins the recovery from surgery to remove a bone spur on his right hand.

Outfielder Mitch Haniger continues to be held back from swinging the bat and won't see any game action until cleared by the doctors, as the club remains cautious with his sore right hand.

Relievers Tony Zych and David Phelps have yet to throw in games, as they're being brought along slowly after dealing with arm issues at the end of last season, but Phelps threw batting practice on Tuesday and should be ready for game action in a few days.

Worth noting

• The Mariners have set their starters for the rest of the week, with Ariel Miranda facing the Reds on Wednesday, Leake going up against the Royals on Thursday and Gonzales taking on the Brewers on Friday in Maryvale.

• Lefty reliever Marc Rzepczynski, working on a shortened leg kick in his delivery, looked impressive with a 1-2-3 third inning with two strikeouts against the Padres in his spring debut.

• Shortstop Jean Segura went 2-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs against the Padres and continues looking comfortable in the No. 2 spot in the lineup behind speedster Dee Gordon, who went 1-for-2 with a sacrifice and a run scored and is 4-for-8 in his first four games with Seattle.

Video: SD@SEA: Segura cranks a two-run homer to left

Up next

Miranda makes his second start of the spring when the Mariners travel to Goodyear on Wednesday to face the Indians in a 12:05 p.m. PT game. Closer Edwin Diaz and new setup man Juan Nicasio are among the relievers scheduled to throw in a game that will be available on Gameday Audio.

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

Seattle Mariners, James Paxton