The Mariners’ latest injury updates underscore why clubs are hesitant to discuss timetables until players are in the latter stages of their recovery programs.
While right-hander Felix Hernandez is ticketed for another bullpen workout Tuesday in his recovery from bursitis in his shoulder, the Mariners are slowing the rehab schedules for right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma and outfielder Mitch Haniger.
Like Hernandez, Iwakuma threw his first bullpen workout Saturday in Boston but unlike Hernandez, didn’t come out of it as well. He was diagnosed with shoulder inflammation after a May 3 start against the Los Angeles Angels.
"Hisashi Iwakuma is not quite as quick to move along as Felix," manager Scott Servais said. "He’s still working on a few things. He may get (back) on the slope in the next couple of days."
Haniger suffered a strained right oblique in the same game, April 25 at Detroit, that Hernandez left due to an ailing shoulder. Haniger’s injury was diagnosed as a grade 2 strain which typically requires six weeks to recover.
It now appears likely to take that long.
Haniger did not take part in batting practice over the last few days after experiencing some renewed tightness last week in workouts.
"He’s trying to ease his way back into it," Servais said. "He’s just not recovering quick enough when he does hit. He feels something sore later in the day or the next day. It’s slower, maybe behind schedule, on what we’d hoped for with Mitch.
"He’s not quite ready to go out on a rehab yet."
Lefty James Paxton will return to the rotation Wednesday when the Mariners and Rockies shift their four-game split series to Safeco Field. It will be his first start since suffering a strained forearm muscle May 2 against the Angels.
"Ready to go," Paxton said. "On target and ready to roll. It’s been tough, but I’ve been doing everything I can to get back as soon as possible. I think we did that. We got me back as fast as possible. I’m healthy and feeling good."
Even so, Servais sought to minimize expectations for Paxton, who was 3-0 with a 1.43 ERA through six starts when he went to the disabled list.
"I think we need to be realistic," Servais said. "He hasn’t been out there for a while. He was certainly off to a great start. It means a lot to get him back in there. It has been a struggle.
"We used our 12th starter the other day. That’s unheard of at this time of the season."
The Mariners remain hopeful that Hernandez can return by mid-June. Iwakuma and lefty Drew Smyly, who has a strained elbow flexor, could be ready by late June. Smyly is still limited to playing catch.
All subject to change, though.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners