Paxton's next step is rehab start in Class A

Paxton's next step is rehab start in Class A

SEATTLE -- Rookie southpaw James Paxton threw 53 pitches in a three-inning simulated game against Mariners teammates on Saturday, and he now is expected to advance to a Minor League rehab start with Class A Everett on Thursday.

Paxton said he'll need to check out OK on Sunday before getting cleared to move forward, but said he felt great while facing teammates Dustin Ackley, Willie Bloomquist and Jesus Sucre in his second sim game situation.

The 25-year-old has been dealing with shoulder issues since straining his left lat muscle in his second start on April 8 against the Angels. He worked his way through the rehab process once already, but then was shut down again after more soreness cropped up following a three-inning start for Triple-A Tacoma in late May.

"Everything feels good," Paxton said after throwing all his pitches during Saturday's workout. "It's just one step at a time in getting my stuff back to where it needs to be to pitch here. But I think with a couple rehab starts and a little more refinement and a couple [bullpen sessions], it'll be good to go."

Everett hosts Salem-Keizer on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. PT, and Paxton lines up for that start, while Taijuan Walker is scheduled to throw the same day for Tacoma at Reno before he rejoins Seattle's rotation following the All-Star break.

"It'll be fun to get in game situations again and face some different-colored jerseys," said Paxton, who likely will throw three innings if all goes well.

Paxton is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts this season, and 5-0 with a 1.75 ERA in six starts for Seattle since making his Major League debut last September.

Greg Johns is a reporter for 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.