What an exciting way to end the month of June for the Mariners. Beating up on the Houston Astros is always fun, even more so when it comes by way of a home run derby.
The home runs almost overshadowed the fact that the Mariners most prized possession, Taijuan Walker, made his first start of the season for the M’s. He beat the same team that he faced in the first game of his career last season.
In his first game back he pushed his way through 6 innings, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits. His command was a bit shaky but it was a good start and a welcome sight for fans.
Taijuan was not the only up and coming Mariners pitcher to make the team stream yesterday.
Twenty-five year old southpaw James Paxton, another young starter with a lot of upside, is slowly making his way back to the rotation.
MLB.com reported yesterday that Paxton was back to traveling with the team and threw a 35-pitch bullpen session prior to last night’s game at Minute Maid park.
Paxton said he has another bullpen session later this week during the road trip against the Chicago White Sox where he should be throwing about 45 to 50 pitches.
Barring any setbacks he should be scheduled for a simulated game when the team returns to Seattle next week.
“Everything is going forward as planned, so far,” Paxton said. “It felt really good today. The ball was coming out well. Everything felt smooth.”
I would think that if all goes well, we can realistically expect to see Paxton back in the rotation by late July.
Dating back to last season, Paxton has gone 5-0 with a 1.75 ERA. His last game was against the Angels on April 8th.