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Felix, Paxton still aiming to return for WC push

Pitchers expected to throw bullpen sessions at the end of the week
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

BALTIMORE -- The clock is ticking on the Mariners' season, as less than five weeks remain on the regular-season schedule. However, Felix Hernandez and James Paxton are still shooting to be a part of the team's final postseason push as they rehab from injuries.

The two starters both played catch again on Monday at Safeco Field, and they will advance to throwing off a mound in bullpen sessions either Friday or Saturday once the Mariners return home at the end of their 12-game road trip, manager Scott Servais said.

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BALTIMORE -- The clock is ticking on the Mariners' season, as less than five weeks remain on the regular-season schedule. However, Felix Hernandez and James Paxton are still shooting to be a part of the team's final postseason push as they rehab from injuries.

The two starters both played catch again on Monday at Safeco Field, and they will advance to throwing off a mound in bullpen sessions either Friday or Saturday once the Mariners return home at the end of their 12-game road trip, manager Scott Servais said.

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"That is the goal," Servais said. "We'll keep our fingers crossed. The first one will be a light bullpen [session], get up on the mound and throw 20-25 pitches."

That would be a significant step, as once pitchers start throwing off the mound in the rehab process, the next step would be to face live hitters in a simulated situation before going out on a rehab assignment.

All that adds up to a mid-September return for both Hernandez and Paxton, which means at the most, the hurlers would be able to make two or three possible starts before the end of the season. But the Mariners could certainly use the boost to a rotation that has been short-handed much of the year.

Hernandez and Paxton have started 442 Major League games and won 189 games between them. The two pitchers who have replaced them in the rotation -- Andrew Albers and Marco Gonzales -- have a combined 26 MLB starts and eight wins.

Hernandez has been sidelined since July 31 with bursitis in his right shoulder, while Paxton has been out since Aug. 10 with a strained left pectoral muscle.

Hisashi Iwakuma, on the 60-day DL since May 3 with right shoulder inflammation, also continues to throw, but there is no timetable on his potential return.

Worth noting 

• Center fielder Jarrod Dyson, on the DL since Aug. 17 with a right groin strain, ran the bases and took batting practice before Monday's game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards and looked close to being ready. The Mariners could activate him on Tuesday or Wednesday, or they could wait until Friday when rosters can be expanded without having to send anyone else down.

Video: BAL@SEA: Dyson throws out Machado for double play

"I was very encouraged," Servais said. "I wouldn't say he was at 100 percent, but I thought he moved around really good. We'll see how it plays out and see how he feels here in the next day or two."

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

Seattle Mariners, Felix Hernandez, James Paxton