We’ll use this post to cover some notable health updates on a pair of Mariners hurlers: starter James Paxton, who has been a huge part of the club’s successes this year, and rehabbing reliever David Phelps.
The club seems to have averted disaster when Paxton was struck in the left arm last night with a comebacker, but that doesn’t mean the injury won’t have an impact. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports that the southpaw is likely to require a placement on the disabled list despite the fact that an x-ray did not reveal structural damage.
Paxton, 29, has given up a few more home runs and earned runs than he did last year, but has otherwise turned in another stellar campaign. He owns a 3.68 ERA with 11.4 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 on the season. Paxton still has yet to make more than 24 starts or reach 140 innings in a single campaign, though he has already set high-water marks in both regards this year and will surpass those levels when he returns.
Meanwhile, Phelps has marked a notable step in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. As Corey Brock of The Athletic tweets, Phelps has now thrown a baseball for the first time since going under the knife in March.
Of course, it’d be exceedingly optimistic to think Phelps will again pitch in the majors before reaching the open market at season’s end. But it’s certainly notable that he seems to be on a fast track to return. Last year, newly acquired Seattle reliever Zach Duke made it back after about a nine-month recovery period. Phelps still isn’t quite five months removed from his procedure.
Phelps’s market situation will certainly be improved if he’s able to get back up to full speed before camp opens next February. The 31-year-old has been a highly productive pitcher since moving into a full-time relief role at the start of a breakout 2016 season, but only made ten appearances in Seattle after being picked up in a trade with the Marlins last summer.