Everything these days concerning the Mariners centers around developments on the disabled list. Friday brought mixed news.
Left-hander James Paxton and outfielder Mitch Haniger are progressing, and club officials are loosely targeting their return coming at some point on the next road trip — May 23-30 to Washington, Boston and Colorado.
Right-hander Felix Hernandez is slowing his throwing program after two session of playing catch. He hasn’t pitched since April 25 because of bursitis in his shoulder.
"Felix played catch and just felt so-so," manager Scott Servais said. "We’re backing off. He’s not throwing (Friday)."
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The Mariners don’t yet have a medical update on right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, who returned this week to Seattle for further examination after being placed on the disabled list because of shoulder inflammation.
Reliever Steve Cishek threw well Thursday in a one-inning outing for Triple-A Tacoma. He is ticketed for one more rehab appearance and, if no problems arise, is likely to be activated during next week’s seven-game homestand.
"The ball is coming out of his hand better with better life to his pitches," Servais said. "That’s definitely moving in the right direction. He’s probably going to get one more rehab (outing), and then we’ll evaluate."
Cishek is recovering from October surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip.
Paxton began throwing Friday in his recovery from a strained forearm muscle, which was diagnosed after a May 2 start against the Angels. He is 3-0 with a 1.43 ERA in six starts prior to his injury.
"He’s going to need an extended (outing before returning)," Servais said, "whether it’s a simulated game or a rehab start. We’ve got to stretch him a little bit."
Haniger suffered a strained right oblique muscle in the same April 25 game in Detroit that forced Hernandez to the disabled list. Haniger was batting .342 in 21 games with four homers and 16 RBIs prior to his injury.
Saturday will mark a major test for Haniger, who will be taking swings at balls on a tee for the first time since his injury. Up to now, he has been limited to taking swings in a pool, where the water’s resistance guards putting stress on the oblique.
CANO STILL AILING
A strained right quadriceps muscle knocked second baseman Robinson Cano out of the lineup Friday for a second straight game.
"He’s not going to be able to go today," Servais said prior to the game. "It kind of feels the same as it did (Thursday). It’s still bothering him, so we’ll give him another day.
"Hopefully, we can get him in there Saturday and Sunday, but I’m not sure.
Taylor Motter replaced Cano at second base.
Cano suffered the injury Tuesday in Philadelphia and left the game after the fourth inning. He recovered well enough to start Wednesday against the Phillies but aggravated the injury while running out a ground ball in the ninth inning.
The injury comes while Cano was on a sustained hot streak. He batted .349 over his last 21 games with seven homers and 20 RBIs.
WEBER LIKELY TO START SATURDAY
Servais continues to hedge on a starting pitcher for Saturday's game against the Blue Jays, but the Mariners plan to promote right-hander Ryan Weber from Triple-A Tacoma.
Weber, 26, is 2-0 with a 0.85 ERA this season in six games, including five starts, for the Rainiers. His last start was May 8, when he pitched seven shutout innings against New Orleans. It was his turn to start Saturday at Tacoma.
The Mariners acquired Weber in a Nov. 3, 2016 waiver claim from Atlanta. He was subsequently designated for assignment and, after clearing waivers, sent to Tacoma on an outright assignment.
The Mariners didn’t announce the move Friday night because they were still determining the necessary corresponding moves. They must clear space for Weber on their 25-man and 40-man rosters.
Veteran Jean Machi could be at risk because he pitched 2 1/3 innings in Friday’s loss to Toronto and because the Mariners expect Cishek to be ready to return early next week from the disabled list.
Creating an opening on the 40-man roster is a tougher call.
Weber has been a swingman throughout much of his nine-year career. He was 1-4 with a 5.15 ERA in 21 games for the Braves, including seven starts, in 2015-16.
Shortstop Jean Segura now has sufficient plate appearances to qualify among the batting leaders and entered the weekend leading the American League with a .369 average.
New York second baseman Starlin Castro was second at .351. Nelson Cruz was sixth at .331.
Segura is batting .394 in 15 games since returning April 25 from a 12-game absence for a strained right hamstring.
While it’s somewhat deceptive because of Segura’s missed time, his average also ranks third in franchise history through the club’s first 35 games. First baseman David Segui batted .392 in 1998, and Griffey batted .382 in 1990.
Three things to note heading into Saturday’s projected pitching matchup between right-hander Ryan Weber and Toronto right-hander Marcus Stroman:
***Weber has never faced the Blue Jays. The Mariners are the only American League club that Stroman has never faced.
***No current Blue Jay has ever faced Weber in the big leagues.
***Seven Mariners faced Stroman while playing for other clubs. Segura is 3-for-4, and Cruz is 2-for-3. Jarrod Dyson is 1-for-5.
The roster at Triple-A Tacoma remains in flux and not just because the Rainiers are shuttling players to the big leagues. Tacoma added three players over the last two days from outside of the organization.
Right-handed pitcher Casey Lawrence was assigned to the Rainiers after the Mariners acquired him in a Thursday waiver claim from Toronto.
The Mariners also signed infielder Danny Muno on Thursday and right-handed pitcher Tyler Cloyd on Friday. Both players were assigned to the Rainiers.
Muno, 28, was batting just .224 with Southern Maryland in the independent Atlantic League but had a .397 on-base percentage in 15 games. He batted .148 last season for the New York Mets in 17 games.
Cloyd, 29, was playing for Somerset in the independent Atlantic League. He had a 1.50 ERA and 16 strikeouts over 12 innings in three starts. He was 4-9 with a 5.98 ERA in 19 games for Philadelphia in 2012-13.
The Mariners played their 36th game Friday, and Christian Bergman was their eighth-different starting pitcher…third baseman Kyle Seager will be featured Saturday on MLB Network’s kids-focused show "Play Ball." It will air at 7 a.m. and 1:30 p.m….the Mariners have used 13 rookies this season, including eight who are currently on the 25-man roster
It was 16 years ago Saturday — May 13, 2001 — that Edgar Martinez became the second player in franchise history to score 1,000 runs. It came here at the Rogers Centre in a 7-5 victory over the Blue Jays.
Martinez scored in the first inning on a two-out single by Bret Boone.
Ken Griffey Jr. reached the 1,000-run milestone in 1999.
Martinez finished with a franchise-record 1,219 runs in his 18-year career. Ichiro Suzuki ranks second with 1,176, followed by Griffey at 1,113.
The Mariners and Blue Jays continue their four-game weekend series at 10:07 a.m. Pacific time Saturday at the Rogers Centre.
While the Mariners have not yet identified a starting pitcher, the leading possibility appears to be right-hander Ryan Weber (0-0 with a 0.00 ERA). Toronto will start right-hander Marcus Stroman (3-2, 3.338).
The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710 ESPN and the Mariners Radio Network, including mariners.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv).
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners