The Seattle Mariners have a few pretty interesting position battles going on, but none of them may be as good as the battle for the starting rotation spot.
It is assumed that Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, and Wade Miley will be three of the five, but that leaves two spots for three or more guys. The other three starters in contention are Taijuan Walker, Nate Karns, and James Paxton, all who have had experience at the Major League level.
Saturday night, however, was Paxton’s turn to show what he’s got as he made a start in one of the Mariners’ split-squad matchups against the Dodgers in Peoria, Arizona.
In his last outing back on March 7 against the Diamondbacks, Paxton struggled a bit giving up four runs on seven hits in three innings, but Saturday night was a different story.
The slimmed down southpaw came out with some zip on his fastball and some nice bite to his breaking stuff, as he turned in a solid outing for the Mariners. Paxton went four innings, his longest outing of the spring, giving up one run (0 ER) on three hits along with striking out two.
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) March 13, 2016
This was definitely Paxton’s best outing of the spring and now he can grow from this and continue to try to work to get into the rotation on Opening Day. He has worked hard in the offseason to cut down on his weight and get in better shape to avoid the injury bugs that have bit him in his short career thus far.
It is obviously just three starts this spring along with it still being early in March, but if Paxton can start to turn in more outings like Saturday night, he will be right up there to land a spot on the 25-man roster come Opening Day.