Some good news Wednesday for the Mariners in Arizona.
Lefty James Paxton pitched three scoreless innings for Peoria in his Fall League debut and was positioned for a victory before the bullpen let it slip away.
Paxton permitted just one hit while striking out two and walking none in a 46-pitch performance that included 33 strikes. It marked his first mound appearance since a finger injury on Sept. 24 at Kansas City.
The Mariners are hopeful Paxton can log roughly 30 innings in the Fall League in an effort to build his endurance. He missed four months of the just-completed season because of various injuries to his middle finger.
"I should be able to get to about 100 innings (for the year)," Paxton said recently. "Of course, I’d like to get to more. But once you get into pitching in December, it gets pretty close to spring training.
"I want to give myself time to recover and come into spring training strong so that I can be ready for next season."
Paxton suffered a strained tendon in a May 28 start against Cleveland and didn’t return until Sept. 13. He then worked just 8 2/3 innings over three starts before suffering a torn fingernail against the Royals.
In all, Paxton pitched only 73 2/3 innings, counting his time at Triple-A Tacoma on a rehab assignment.
Paxton departed Wednesday with a 3-0 lead at Surprise after a three-run homer by D.J. Peterson, a Mariners prospect, in the top of the fourth inning. But the Javelinas couldn’t hold it and lost 5-4 in 10 innings.
PETERSON ON EARLY TEAR
Peterson is off to a blazing start in his bid to erase the sour taste of a disappointing season. He had two homers in Peoria’s loss and is 4-for-8 with six RBIs in his first two games.
He had just seven homers this season in 97 games at Double-A Jackson (93) and Tacoma (four) after hitting 31 over 123 games in 2014 while splitting time at Hi-A High Desert and Jackson.
Peterson’s RBI count also plummeted, from 111 to 44, and his slash numbers (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) dipped from .297/.360/.552 in 2014 to .223/.287/.344.
The Mariners selected Peterson, 23, with their first-round pick in 2013, and he entered the season ranked No. 2 on the TNT Top l0 list of the organization’s prospects.
***Outfielder James Jones is 4-for-8 with a walk through two games at Aragua in the Venezuelan Winter League.
***Right-hander Stephen Landazuri, who split the season at Tacoma and Jackson, had 11 strikeouts Wednesday in 5 2/3 innings for Mexicali against Obregon in the Mexican Pacific League. He also gave up three runs in a 5-3 loss.
***Lefty reliever Ryan Horstman, a late Fall League replacement for Tony Zych, worked one scoreless inning Tuesday for Peoria. Horstman, a fourth-round pick in 2013, had 11 scoreless appearances for three affiliates.
***Zych was assigned by the Mariners to Peoria in late August, but the club pulled him after he compiled a 2.45 ERA in 13 September relief appearances.