Injured lefty James Paxton had a brief message after throwing from flat ground Wednesday in a pregame workout: "Two big thumbs up," he said while reinforcing the point by raising the thumbs on both hands.
Paxton has pitched since being diagnosed with a strained forearm muscle after a May 2 start against the Los Angeles Angels at Safeco Field. He was 3-0 with a 1.43 ERA through six starts when placed on the disabled list.
Plans call for Paxton to throw a bullpen workout later in the week. He will then make a rehab start in the minors. If all goes well, he could rejoin the rotation at some point on a eight-game trip that begins May 23 in Washington.
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Other rotation updates:
***Right-hander Felix Hernandez was scheduled to resume playing catch in his recovering from bursitis in his shoulder, which was diagnosed after an April start in Detroit.
Hernandez played catch twice last week but backed off his throwing program when he experienced discomfort. Barring further setbacks, he could be ready to rejoin the rotation in early June.
Hernandez was 2-2 with a 4.73 ERA in five starts when placed on the disabled list.
***Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma could begin playing catch this weekend in his recovery from shoulder inflammation, which was diagnosed after a May 3 start against the Angels.
Iwakuma is not expected to return prior to mid-June at the earliest.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners