By: Joey Segur
What seemed to be James Paxton’s final minor league rehab start for the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers, ended in disappointment as Paxton was pulled in the 4th inning due to a blister on his left middle finger. Greg Johns from MLB.com reports that after 44 pitches and on a 2-2 count to the first batter of the 4th inning, Paxton couldn’t take the discomfort any longer and was pulled from the game.
James Paxton was on his third rehab start with the Rainiers after suffering a sprained middle finger on his pitching hand in late May. The plan for Paxton was to finish up his rehab starts with Tacoma and join the M’s in Oakland on Friday. Currently there is no timetable return for Paxton after receiving his blister, but the Mariners rotation sure could use his arsenal of pitches.
I think the biggest question concerning Paxton is if the Mariners will keep him on the side line for the rest of the year to keep him healthy for the 2016 season. Not only are you saving time on his arm, but Paxton was out for 4 months of the 2014 season with a strained lat muscle behind his left shoulder, and Paxton had already missed 3 months this season due to his sprained middle finger, so why take the chance of adding more time on the disabled list, or having him spend the off season recovering when he could be working on his pitches, working on his control, and work on being the best #2 starting pitcher the Mariners could ask for.
Now I know a lot of M’s fans are putting this season in the books and throwing all chances for playoffs out the window. But if the M’s decide to put Paxton in before the season is over, they are risking a chance for re-injury and also risking a chance of starting the season with the #2 pitcher of the rotation on the bench. I say play it safe, let him have a healthy off season where he can work out what he needs to, and come back to the 2016 season with the ability to be lights out.