Painful as it is to say, Seattle Mariners fans may be better off if starting pitcher James Paxton was yet to make a start in 2014. That way the organization’s faithful would not be aware of what they are missing out on. Instead, his brief two outings for Seattle this year showed he has great potential but also proves that his durability is shrouded in uncertainty.
Paxton was very sharp in two April starts before landing on the disabled list Apr. 9 with a lat strain. After a rehab start this past Saturday for the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers, the southpaw complained of tricep tightness in his throwing arm. A few days later, an MRI revealed inflammation in the shoulder on that arm, and the Mariners shut him down indefinitely. He will not throw again until the swelling goes down, which is anticipated to occur in the next five to seven days. Shoulder inflammation in a ball player is never something to take lightly, though — especially for a pitcher. Erik Bedard and the torn labrum he suffered in his shoulder in 2009 should serve as a not so friendly reminder to Mariners fans of a possible worst-case scenario with Paxton in ’14.
It’s a real shame, as Paxton looked poised to make a name for himself this year in the AL West with Seattle. But he also looked to continue showing MLB pundits and fans that great baseball talent can come from north of the border.
Instead, the Mariners organization is forced to play the waiting game with Paxton. It’s frustrating, as they are dealing with a similar situation surrounding their young right-hander Taijuan Walker. Walker has been on the DL since Mar. 21 with a right shoulder impingement. He threw a successful, pain-free three innings in a rehab start yesterday and should be available to the Mariners before Paxton will be. It’s a good thing, because right now the team is relying heavily on the services of veteran SP Chris Young, who throughout most of his career has also not been a stranger to lengthy trips on the disabled list.