WASHINGTON, D.C. — While the Mariners move onto Boston for the weekend, lefty James Paxton heads west in a brief detour for a rehab start Friday night for Double-A Arkansas in Little Rock.
"Just one day," he said. "I’ll be back Saturday with the team."
If all goes well Friday in Arkansas, Paxton will be activated from the disabled list in time to start May 31 or June 1 against Colorado in the opening series to an 11-game homestand.
"I’m feeling good," he said. "No problems."
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Plans call for Paxton to throw 60-65 pitches over four innings Friday against Frisco (Rangers) as the final step in his recovery from a strained forearm muscle that surfaced after a May 2 start against the Los Angeles Angels at Safeco Field.
Paxton was 3-0 with a 1.43 ERA through six starts prior to his injury and appeared poised to achieve his long-projected potential as a reliable top-of-the-rotation starter.
A healthy Paxton should boost a rotation currently buckling from injuries to five starting pitchers, including four projected to form the club’s front-line unit. None of the other four are expected to return from the disabled list before mid-June.
"I just hope he goes through the outing and has a good one," manager Scott Servais said. "We’ll go from there."
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners