ANAHEIM -- James Paxton likely will rejoin the Mariners in the next few days, though manager Scott Servais still hasn't penciled the big lefty back into the rotation. But long reliever Roenis Elias threw so well in his spot start in Friday's 5-0 win over the Angels that he could
ANAHEIM -- James Paxton likely will rejoin the Mariners in the next few days, though manager Scott Servais still hasn't penciled the big lefty back into the rotation. But long reliever Roenis Elias threw so well in his spot start in Friday's 5-0 win over the Angels that he could get another turn on Wednesday in Houston.
Wade LeBlanc and Mike Leake will pitch the first two games of the Astros series on Monday and Tuesday, but the Wednesday starter still hasn't been determined. Paxton is nearly recovered from a light bout of pneumonia and could rejoin the team on Sunday in Anaheim or Monday in Houston, but Servais said he'll likely throw a bullpen session first and it's not clear yet if he'd be ready to go by Wednesday.
Both Paxton and Felix Hernandez played catch at Safeco Field on Saturday and reports on both were good. Hernandez is recovering from a strained right hamstring that knocked him out in the fifth inning of his start last Saturday against the Yankees.
Servais said Hernandez will likely rejoin the team either in Houston or Arlington next week at the end of the current 10-day road trip, then test the leg in a bullpen session before any decision is made on when he slides back into the rotation.
That leaves Wednesday up in the air.
"It's TBA," Servais said Saturday. "And TBA worked out OK last night. The guys did a nice job."
Elias got the late call for Friday's start and responded with 3 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit with two walks and four strikeouts in a 58-pitch outing, and earning another start if needed.
"He certainly could," Servais said. "Our pitching coaches did a nice job working with him on a couple mechanical things to help his balance and keep him on line a little better. With a more-consistent release point, his stuff was really good. He struck out four of the first six guys and was awesome. Going into it, I was thinking maybe we'd get a couple innings out of him. And we got 3 2/3. It was really nice."
Servais said Elias benefited from abandoning a sidearm curve he'd experimented with and sticking with an over-the-top release that worked very well. The lefty struck out Michael Trout and Shohei Ohtani with curveballs in his first time through the order.
"When he lands it, it's as good a left-handed curveball as you're going to see," Servais said. "Consistency is what separates the guys who play in this league a long time and those who don't."
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.