Timeline materializes as Paxton throws 'pen

Timeline materializes as Paxton throws 'pen

HOUSTON -- Mariners rookie southpaw James Paxton threw a 35-pitch bullpen session at Minute Maid Park prior to Monday night's game with the Astros as he continued his recovery from shoulder issues that had sidelined him since his second start of the season.

Paxton is accompanying the team on its current trip and said he would throw another bullpen of 45 to 50 pitches on Friday in Chicago and could then be ready for a simulated game when the club returns to Seattle next week.

"Everything is going forward as planned, so far," the 25-year-old said. "It felt really good today. The ball was coming out well. Everything felt smooth."

Paxton has gone 5-0 with a 1.75 ERA in six Major League starts going back to last season, but he has been unable to stay healthy this year after straining the lat muscle behind his left shoulder in his second outing of the year. He worked his way back through a similar rehab program but had to be shut down again after new soreness cropped up in his shoulder after a three-inning start for Triple-A Tacoma on May 24.

So for now, he is just happy to be back traveling with the team and working out instead of being stuck behind in the Safeco Field training room.

"It feels a little better, more like you're part of the team," he said. "I'll be out there tonight cheering the guys on in the dugout and watching my buddy [Taijuan Walker] coming back."

Walker, who spent considerable time in the training room with Paxton this spring, made his Mariners season debut Monday night against the Astros.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.