The Seattle Mariners signed their fourth-round draft pick today, getting left-handed pitcher James Paxton into spring training as a non-roster invitee.
The 22-year-old pitched three seasons for the University of Kentucky, the last one in 2009, and went 11-5 with a 4.91 ERA in 55 games. Paxton went 1-2 with a 4.08 ERA last season with the Grand Prarie independent league team.
“I’ve been working out, throwing my bullpens.” Paxton said. “We’ll see what happens, but I will compete. I’m ready to pitch.”
GM Jack Zduriencik was in no rush to let him do so. Zduriencik said it’s likely Paxton will spend enough time in the Mariners big-league camp to be seen by manager Eric Wedge and pitching coach Carl Willis, but inevitably will be sent to minor league camp and assigned a team.
“We saw him pitch in Kentucky, saw him pitch in the independent league, and we had him in the mid-90s with a good fastball and slider,” Zduriencik said. “As I’ve said all along in this job, it’s all about adding talent. We added a quality left-handed pitcher to the fold today.”