Paxton set for simulated game Tuesday

If all goes well, Mariners lefty could begin rehab stint

Paxton set for simulated game Tuesday

BOSTON -- James Paxton's long-awaited return appears finally to be getting closer as the talented Mariners left-hander will throw in a simulated-game situation Tuesday in Texas after firing 45 pitches in a bullpen session Friday at Fenway Park.

The 27-year-old is 12-7 with a 3.05 ERA in 27 career starts, but was only able to pitch 13 games last year and 10 so far this season due to injuries. Paxton was 3-3 with a 3.70 ERA when he was shut down in late May with a strained middle finger on his throwing hand.

Manager Lloyd McClendon said Paxton will likely throw a two- or three-inning simulated situation Tuesday, then could be ready to begin a Minor League rehab stint with Triple-A Tacoma that would likely require several starts before he'd be ready to rejoin the Mariners.

"He's been throwing for quite a while, so his arm is in great shape," McClendon said. "I'd say he'd probably need two-three rehab games in Tacoma."

In a best-case scenario, that would put Paxton in line to rejoin the rotation in early September.

"It's been responding very well," Paxton said of his recent throwing sessions. "There's been no lingering tightness or soreness, so it's all been great. I made the first step of making a road trip and getting a bullpen, so hopefully the sim game goes well and I can move on from there."

Paxton said Friday's bullpen went extremely well.

"My fastball was jumping better [Friday] than it has anytime previously," he said. "So I'm starting to feel really good."

Worth noting

• Outfielder Ramon Flores, one of two players acquired from the Yankees on July 31 for Dustin Ackley, is done for the season after suffering a compound fracture and disloctation to his right ankle when slipping on wet grass at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma's 7-5 loss to Sacramento on Friday night. Flores, the Mariners' No. 26 prospect on Pipeline, had a .423/.524/.654 line in 14 games since joining the Rainiers.

• Ted Simmons, a special assistant to Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik, was inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame on Saturday on St. Louis. Simmons spent most of his 21-year playing career with the Cardinals and was an eight-time All-Star catcher.

• With Aaron Goldsmith doing a national FOX broadcast this weekend, Gary Hill is working the Red Sox series alongside Rick Rizzs in the Mariners' radio booth.

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.