Paxton will get another start on homestand

Mariners lefty hopes to improve in next fill-in outing

Paxton will get another start on homestand

SAN DIEGO -- James Paxton will get another start for the Mariners on Monday in place of the injured Felix Hernandez when Seattle returns home to face the Indians, manager Scott Servais said on Thursday, but the skipper made it clear the southpaw needs to step up if he wants to get more opportunities.

Paxton was hitting 96-99 mph with his fastball in Wednesday's 14-6 loss to the Padres, but couldn't supplement that with a quality breaking ball, and also committed a throwing error that cost him five unearned runs in a 3 2/3-inning outing in which he allowed 10 hits and eight runs.

"The ball was in the middle of the plate and up and flat, quite frankly," Servais said. "When it's flat, the hitter sees the whole ball. When you have down angle, they tend to mishit it a little more. He knows that. [Pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr.] is talking to him and he's looking at video.

"But there comes a time, too, where you get an opportunity to step up and a chance to make an impact on a team, sometimes you put a little chip on your shoulder and come with a little edge and say, 'This is my time. This is James Paxton's time.'"

Even in the best of circumstances, Paxton's time might be short, given Hernandez will only miss two more starts if his strained right calf heals as quickly as hoped. Servais said the only update on Hernandez was that the 30-year-old ace came into Safeco Field on Wednesday for treatment and "was still a little sore."

But Paxton, who is 12-9 with a 3.25 ERA in 31 career starts, could certainly make a more-favorable impression on the Mariners new regime if he bounces back strong in whatever chances are forthcoming.

"We're definitely going to give him another shot when we come home," said Servais. "I think trying to figure out how he is going to get better, you have to have a secondary pitch you can go to, not just when you're ahead in the count, but any time. That's going to be the focus. That's what needs to get better. He doesn't need to throw any harder. He's certainly throwing hard enough. But fielding your position and holding runners and those type of things need to get tightened up."

Worth nothing

• Center fielder Leonys Martin took batting practice again with the Mariners on Thursday and is planning to test his strained left hamstring Friday when the club travels to Texas to open a three-game series with the Rangers. Martin is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list June 10.

Robinson Cano continued his first-pitch success with his first-inning homer off the Padres' Christian Friedrich in Wednesday's 14-6 loss. Cano is hitting .537 (22-for-41) with five doubles, one triple, seven homers and 19 RBIs when swinging at the first pitch of an at-bat.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.