SEATTLE -- After MRI tests showed inflammation in left-hander James Paxton's shoulder Tuesday, the Mariners will proceed cautiously with the 25-year-old rookie as he works his way back from his latest setback.
Paxton has been brilliant in his young career, posting a 5-0 record and 1.75 ERA in six starts. Four of those came last September and he went 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA this season before straining the lat muscle behind his left shoulder in his second start in Anaheim on April 8.
But after being shut down for several weeks and then slowly building his arm back up, Paxton felt soreness in his shoulder after throwing 62 pitches in three innings in his first Minor League rehab start for Triple-A Tacoma on Saturday and he's been shut down again until the inflammation goes away.
The Mariners hope that means only a five- to seven-day layoff from throwing and manager Lloyd McClendon said Wednesday he doesn't expect Paxton to be set back too far by his latest issue.
"He's been throwing and he's built up," McClendon said. "I wouldn't suspect it'll take him more than 10 days to get back to where he was. But without a doubt, he'd need at least one or two rehab starts."
Paxton said he doesn't think the soreness is a "big, big thing," but just the result of ramping up his arm again during his first real game action in more than six weeks.
"It's frustrating, but it's just some inflammation and hopefully we can get it calmed down pretty quick so I can get back to throwing and keep on with the program," Paxton said.
McClendon knows Paxton is pushing to get back as quickly as possible, but the team will be prudent.
"We talked. He's disappointed," McClendon said. "But he's going to be OK. It's our responsibility to make sure he's going to be OK and not rush him. It's tough, but we're just going to back him off a little. It's not like he's not going to be back out there, but we just have to make sure."