Paxton throws live BP, tinkers with two-seam change

Cano expected back in camp on Friday

Paxton throws live BP, tinkers with two-seam change

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners left-hander James Paxton threw his first live batting practice of the spring on Wednesday and said he's on track to pitch in a game next week as he returns from a bruised forearm sustained prior to camp.

The 26-year-old Canadian is expected to be an integral part of Seattle's rotation after going 6-4 with a 3.04 ERA in 13 starts last season.

Paxton threw 30 warmup pitches in the bullpen and then another 30 to Minor League hitters on one of the practice fields as he tuned up for his anticipated start next Tuesday against the White Sox in a Cactus League game at Glendale.

James Paxton on MLB Tonight

"I feel real good. Healthy. Nothing is wrong with my arm," Paxton said. "When you get a guy in the box for the first time in six months, it's a little weird. A different optical thing. But it's good to get back out there and get that feeling again and get ready for games."

Paxton faced a group that included top young prospects Gabby Guerrero and Gareth Morgan. There was only one hard-hit ball off him in the session, and Paxton said he threw all his pitches, including a new two-seam changeup he's been working on this spring to go along with his normal four-seam change.

"I'm working to get a little more movement so I can use it as a swing-and-miss pitch," he said. "I really liked what I've seen playing catch with it. It's just a matter of throwing it more off the mound and getting comfortable with it."

In other Wednesday news from camp:

• Manager Lloyd McClendon said Roenis Elias will start Sunday against the Dodgers. So the upcoming pitching slate is Jordan Pries on Thursday, J.A. Happ on Friday, Taijuan Walker on Saturday and Elias on Sunday. Hisashi Iwakuma is throwing a simulated game against Minor Leaguers on Thursday and Felix Hernandez will do the same on Sunday.

Robinson Cano is still due back in camp on Friday following his grandfather's funeral services in the Dominican Republic. With Cano absent, McClendon had both shortstop candidates -- Brad Miller and Chris Taylor -- in the lineup together for a third straight game Wednesday, with Taylor taking second base this time.

• Seattle's Minor League pitchers and catchers have reported to camp and were on the field for the first time Wednesday. The first full-squad Minor League workout is Monday and spring games start March 21.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.