Paxton could return to Mariners' rotation soon

Seager scratched from lineup; Zych progressing in rehab

Paxton could return to Mariners' rotation soon

SEATTLE -- With James Paxton likely to return and start Thursday, and after Wade LeBlanc entered Tuesday's game out of the bullpen, the Mariners' rotation continues its constant evolution.

"With the flux of our rotation, I don't think anything's permanent," manager Scott Servais said. "It's kind of day to day. Getting [Taijuan] Walker back in, getting Paxton coming soon, hopefully there will be a little more stability to that."

The team has not yet announced a starter for Thursday, but Paxton is the best candidate. The lefty has been on the 15-day disabled list since taking a hard comebacker off his pitching elbow in the ninth inning against the Angels on Aug. 7. He made one rehab start in Triple-A Tacoma on Saturday. Pitching Thursday would give him the typical four days of rest.

Paxton has been electric lately. He was on his way to throwing a complete game in his most recent start before the injury sidelined him. Paxton only allowed one unearned run in 8 1/3 innings and struck out six.

LeBlanc was originally penciled in to start Saturday, but he threw two innings of relief in the Mariners' 5-1 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday. He gave up an RBI double to Didi Gregorius after Jacoby Ellsbury reached on an error, but other than that, the Yanks were unable to hit him in two innings of work.

It was LeBlanc's second relief appearance this season, and he could step into the role as a long reliever for the time being.

"I think he'll handle any situation you throw him into," Servais said. "He's not going to get fazed, because he's in his early 30s. He's been around a little bit. He did a nice job last night. Came in pumping strikes, good changeup."

Left-hander Ariel Miranda will likely get the ball Saturday instead, Servais said. The rookie is 1-0 with a 4.58 ERA in three starts and one relief appearance for the Mariners since they acquired him from the Orioles on July 31.

Worth noting
• Third baseman Kyle Seager was scratched from Wednesday's lineup after fouling a ball off his right foot in Tuesday night's game. The initial X-rays were negative, suggesting a bone bruise. Utilityman Shawn O'Malley got the start at third base.

• Right-hander Tony Zych logged a scoreless inning in his first game off the 60-day disabled list on Tuesday, allowing two hits. Zych went on the DL retroactive to May 2 with right rotator cuff tendinitis. He made four rehab appearances before the Mariners activated him Tuesday. Now that Zych is healthy, it's about getting comfortable again.

"It just kind of feels like the end of Spring Training," he said.

Maddie Lee is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.