Mariners Insider Blog

Mariners notebook: Paxton’s recovery takes a step forward

Some measurable progress, finally, for Mariners left-hander James Paxton in his recovery from a strained tendon on his middle finger.

Paxton is no longer throwing with tape on his finger and, barring setbacks, will throw a bullpen workout Sunday — his first time on a mound since the injury forced his exit in a May 28 game against Cleveland.

“It’s a wonderful thing,” he said. “(The tape) came off earlier this week. It’s feeling really good. The ball is coming out well, jumping a little bit. No pain when I’m throwing.”

Club officials say Paxton’s slow recovery stemmed from his injury being in a place that gets limited blood flow.

Paxton, 26, was 3-3 with a 3.10 ERA in 10 starts when the injury occurred. He missed nearly four months last season because of a strained left latissimus dorsi muscle in his back.

A bullpen workout Sunday, projected at 20-25 pitches, would effectively set a tentative recovery timetable of roughly one month.

Paxton would likely throw a few bullpen workouts and possibly a simulated game before commencing a minor-league rehab assignment of at least two (and probably three) starts before rejoining the active roster.

Being able to throw, without tape on his finger, is a long-awaited step.

“We’re making progress,” he said. “That’s for sure.”

FURBUSH UPDATE

Lefty reliever Charlie Furbush will test his recovery from biceps tendinitis at least one more time by throwing a bullpen session Saturday before heading to Triple-A Tacoma on a rehab assignment.

Furbush reported no problems after throwing a 41-pitch bullpen workout before last Wednesday’s game at Colorado. He hasn’t pitched since a one-inning appearance July 7 against Detroit.

Furbush is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 33 appearances and has stranded all 16 inherited runners.

▪  Second baseman Robinson Cano said he is still battling lingering soreness from a strained abdominal muscle.

“It’s better,” he said, “but it’s not 100 percent.”

The ailment surfaced after the July 28 game against Arizona and forced Cano to miss three games.

MOYER CEREMONY

Want a Jamie Moyer bobblehead doll? Well … make plans to arrive early Saturday at Safeco Field. The Mariners are expecting a crowd of 35,000 or so, and only 20,000 bobbleheads are being distributed.

The gates will open at 10:40 a.m. The ceremony to induct Moyer into the Mariners’ Hall of Fame starts at 12:30 p.m., and the first pitch against the Texas Rangers will come at 1:10 p.m.

MINOR DETAILS

Short-A Everett shortstop Drew Jackson, a fifth-round pick in June, continues to rake in the Northwest League. He was 2 for 3 with two walks Thursday in a 5-4 loss to Tri-City (Padres).

Jackson, 22, is batting .528 over the last 13 games (28 for 53) with a .597 on-base percentage and a .717 slugging percentage.

Overall, he has a .380/.434/.482 (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) slash in 35 games.

LOOKING BACK

It was 14 years ago — Aug. 8, 2001 — that Moyer pitched his 21st career complete game in a 12-4 victory over Toronto at Safeco Field.

Edgar Martinez paced a 19-hit attack with a homer. Ichiro Suzuki went 4 for 6 and raised his average to .337. The victory boosted the Mariners to 83-31.

Moyer finished his 25-year career with 33 complete games, including 20 in his 11 seasons with the Mariners from 1996-2006.

SHORT HOPS

Nelson Cruz entered the weekend series with a 16-game hitting streak, including six consecutive multi-hit games. … Cruz also entered Friday as the major-league leader with 134 hits — one more than Texas designated hitter Prince Fielder. … The Mariners, prior to Friday, led the majors with 66 doubles since July 1. The White Sox ranked second with 62. … Ketel Marte started for a second straight game at shortstop over Brad Miller. It was also the second consecutive game in which the Mariners faced a left-handed starting pitcher. … First baseman Logan Morrison started for the first time since exiting the July 29 game against Arizona because of a bruised thumb. He had five plate appearances as a pinch hitter/defensive replacement since the injury.

ON TAP

The Mariners and Rangers continue their three-game series at 1:10 p.m. Saturday at Safeco Field. Seattle left-hander Mike Montgomery (4-4, 3.07) will face Texas lefty Martin Perez (1-2, 6.64.)

bob.dutton@thenewstribune.com

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