With Maurer Struggling, M’s Need Walker & Paxton Back

Walker & Paxton Still Fighting To Return

The Seattle Mariners starting rotation is beginning to jell with the return of Hisashi Iwakuma.  You have to like what Felix Hernandez, Iwakuma, Chris Young and Roenis Elias have done so far.

Brandon Maurer, on the other hand, has really struggled.   The numbers speak for themselves.

Maurer has six starts with just 28 innings thrown.  That’s not five innings a start.

It gets worse too.

Maurer’s ERA is approaching seven now (6.99), as he’s allowed 22 runs on 37 hits with 10 base on balls.  Hitters are batting over .300 against Maurer on the season.  Yikes!

Brandon Mauer has really struggled.

Brandon Mauer has really struggled.

Keeping those numbers in mind, it’s easy to say that the M’s desperately need a healthy James Paxton and Taijuan Walker back in their rotation.  Here’s an update on where they stand on their road to recovery.

The Bad News

Paxton has just suffered yet another setback.  After straining a lat muscle a month ago, Paxton had been throwing bullpens and had just thrown his first rehab start with no issues.  Two days later, he was doing his side throwing and his shoulder tightened up on him.

He has since been halted from throwing at all, indefinitely.  That is not good.  There is hope that the soreness he has now will clear up in a week or so.  Best-case scenario, he can start throwing again in just over a week.

Even if it is best-case scenario, this is certainly not good news.

The Good News

Walker has also been throwing bullpens and just made his first rehab start on Wednesday.  There were no reports of discomfort from Walker so we could see Walker throw on the side in a few days.

If he can do that without any ill effects, we could see Walker take over Maurer’s spot in the rotation sometime next week, perhaps next Tuesday when the M’s travel to Atlanta to see the Braves.

Eventual return of Paxton

Assuming Walker does take Maurer’s spot in the rotation, that leaves a tougher choice for skipper Lloyd McClendon when Paxton finally does return.

Elias has thrown reasonably well, but let’s not forget this is a very young pitcher who skipped AAA because of all of these injuries.  The M’s would be wise to limit his innings.

I foresee Paxton returning to the rotation in Elias’ spot and having Elias move to the bullpen to help reduce his workload.  He’d be a formidable second lefty in the bullpen, replacing the not-so-formidable Charlie Furbush.

The road back from lat muscle injuries is tough, however.  Paxton may still have a long ways to go.  It’s hard to know at this point.

One of the M’s other prized pitching prospects, Steven Pryor, had this same injury a year ago.  He’s still not back with the M’s, as he has suffered yet another setback in his recovery this week.

Hopefully both Pryor and Paxton  have just minor setbacks. 

Seeing them both back in Seattle alongside Walker would certainly be a welcome sight.


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About Brian Scott

Husband, Philosopher, Animal Rights Advocate, and Author Brian is a Spokane native and Gonzaga University grad. Seahawks, Mariners, GU Hoops and Cougar football are the teams that drive his passion for sports. You can catch him on twitter too! Connect with Brian today!
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