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James Paxton The Last Seattle Mariners Pitcher To Pitch at Spring Training

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After Felix Hernandez‘s bullpen session on Thursday, LHP James Paxton is the last pitcher yet to pitch for the Seattle Mariners at Spring Training.

Paxton, in a moment of sheer unathleticism, strained his left forearm in skill and agility drills earlier this week at Spring Training in the M’s complex in Peoria, Arizona.

So how will the Mariners approach the injury? It looks like it shouldn’t be anything serious, so they are going to ease him slowly into the regimen and still– hopefully– have him ready for a start the third of fourth game of the season in April.

If Paxton isn’t ready for the start of the 2015 season, that will likely leave the Mariners starting five in the rotation decided before Spring Training start. Logically, it would go Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, J.A. Happ, Taijuan Walker, Roenis Elias. Though, it wouldn’t be shocking if the Mariners strategically sit Walker in Triple-A for the first few weeks of the season and see if Erasmo Ramirez— a RHP without minor league options– can’t hold down the 5th spot in the rotation.

The Mariners want Paxton in the rotation for 2015, and if he can maintain his numbers from an impressive start to his career, he will be an asset to a team that finished 1–game out of the playoffs in 2014.

In 98.0 innings split over 2013 and 2014 Paxton has a 9-4 record with a 2.66 ERA, 1.133 WHIP in 17 games. He has 80 strikeouts, 36 walks and has only allowed 5 home runs.

Now his numbers come from a very small sample size, but if he can hover around a 3.25 ERA and a 1.150 WHIP for 150.00+ throughout 2015, he will certainly push the Mariners towards the playoffs.

If Paxton jumps on the mound and throws for the first time on Monday, he should still be fine progressing towards April 6th and the 25-man roster. But if, for whatever reason, his injury keeps him out any longer, he may find himself on the DL, and eventually Triple-A Tacoma, to start the 2015 season.