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Paxton calls bullpen session a 'step forward'

Lefty has no pain after throwing 27 pitches at 75 percent intensity
MLB.com

SEATTLE -- Good news continues to emerge for the Mariners' contingent of injured starting pitchers, as James Paxton, who landed on the disabled list on Aug. 11 with a strained right pectoral muscle, threw a 27-pitch bullpen at 75 percent intensity on Saturday with no issues.

"I had no pain, no issues in the pec[toral]. Step in the right direction," Paxton said. "I felt [the pain] after [the injury] happened, but since I've been throwing, there hasn't been as much. I haven't had any setbacks. We've kept moving forward the entire time, and today was another step in the right direction."

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SEATTLE -- Good news continues to emerge for the Mariners' contingent of injured starting pitchers, as James Paxton, who landed on the disabled list on Aug. 11 with a strained right pectoral muscle, threw a 27-pitch bullpen at 75 percent intensity on Saturday with no issues.

"I had no pain, no issues in the pec[toral]. Step in the right direction," Paxton said. "I felt [the pain] after [the injury] happened, but since I've been throwing, there hasn't been as much. I haven't had any setbacks. We've kept moving forward the entire time, and today was another step in the right direction."

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Paxton only threw his four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball and changeup Saturday. The left-hander will mix in his breaking pitches in his next bullpen, which is scheduled for Tuesday.

"Timing was a little bit off today, but that's to be expected," Paxton said. "So, we'll continue to tighten things up and we'll get closer to getting back in the game."

Paxton's positive bullpen session came on the coattails of Felix Hernandez's bullpen session on Friday. The ace said he felt good with no pain. Hernandez said he'll throw his second bullpen session Monday and a simulated game Friday.

The news didn't stop at Paxton and Hernandez. Hisashi Iwakuma, who's been on the disabled list since May 7 with inflammation in his right shoulder, threw a 40-pitch bullpen session that yielded positive results.

"From what I understand, it's the best he's felt since all this stuff was going on," Mariners manager Scott Servais said of Iwakuma. "We'll see how that progresses."

Iwakuma appeared close to returning in late June, but two shaky Minor League rehabilitation starts prompted the Mariners to shut down his throwing program. He's since returned to throwing, but hadn't made any significant steps to returning before Saturday's bullpen session.

It's been a season of excessive turnover for the Mariners' rotation; Seattle has employed 17 starters, which is the highest in MLB and ties the 1977 club record. The Twins have used 16 starters this season. Seattle starters posted MLB's fifth-highest ERA in August (5.73).

The Mariners would welcome any additions who could help them compete for the American League's second Wild Card spot.

"We're starting to run out of time, so it's going to happen pretty quick or it's not going to happen at all," Servais said. "'Kuma's been out the longest, but so far so good with those guys moving in the right direction.

"All three of those guys are certainly talented and have the ability to help us out. So, if there's a chance and we're playing meaningful games and we need them to step in, we'll keep them going up until the last week."

Josh Horton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle.

 

Seattle Mariners, James Paxton