Felix Hernandez and James Paxton continued to push toward a possible return to the Mariners’ rotation by mid-September.
Hernandez reported no day-after problems Saturday after throwing from a mound Friday in a bullpen workout for the first time since renewed bursitis in his shoulder forced him to the disabled list after a July 31 start at Texas.
Paxton was similarly upbeat Saturday after a 27-pitch bullpen workout that marked his first time on a mound since a strained left pectoral muscle forced his departure from an Aug. 10 start against the Los Angeles Angels.
"I had no pain," Paxton said. "No issues with my pec. It was a positive step in the right direction. The timing was a little bit off, but that’s to be expected."
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Plans calls for both to throw one more bullpen workout and then pitch in a simulated game (where pitchers face hitters in a controlled situation that simulates a game situation by having the pitcher rest after 15-20 pitches before continuing).
The tentative schedule has Hernandez throwing another bullpen on Monday and a simulated game on Sept. 8; Paxton is one day behind on a Sept. 5/Sept. 9 schedule.
If all goes well, each could then return to the rotation four or five days later on a build-up basis — say, 45-50 pitches in their first starts.
"Then we’ll piece it together like we always do," manager Scott Servais said. "We’re starting to run out of time. It’s got to happen pretty quick, or it’s not going to happen at all."
Servais said Hisashi Iwakuma threw a 40-pitch bullpen workout Saturday in his recovery from a sore shoulder, but he hasn’t pitched since May 3 and appears less likely to return before the season ends.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners