Some encouraging news for the Mariners’ beleaguered rotation: Lefty James Paxton and right-hander Felix Hernandez are scheduled to begin throwing workouts this week.
Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma is also again ready to test his sore shoulder.
Plans call for Hernandez to begin throwing Tuesday in his recovery from a second bout this season with bursitis in his shoulder. He hasn’t pitched since July 31 at Texas.
Paxton will start throwing Wednesday in his recovery from a strained left pectoral muscle that surfaced Aug. 10 against the Los Angeles Angels at Safeco Field.
“That’s a big step, once they start playing catch,” manager Scott Servais said prior to Monday’s series opener against the Braves in Atlanta. “Then you’ve got to build from there.”
A best-case scenario would position Paxton to return to the rotation in early September. He was 12-3 with a 2.78 ERA in 20 starts prior to his injury.
Barring setbacks, Hernandez should return shortly after Paxton. Hernandez missed nearly two months earlier this season with the same injury, but this occasion is not believed to be as severe.
Hernandez was 5-4 with a 4.28 ERA in 13 starts.
Iwakuma’s timetable is harder to project because he suffered setbacks on multiple occasions since being diagnosed after a May 3 start against the Angels. He was 0-2 with a 4.35 ERA in six starts prior to the injury.
***Right-handed reliever David Phelps was scheduled to throw a 20-pitch simulated inning Monday in his recovery from an impingement in his elbow, which forced his departure from an Aug. 4 outing in Kansas City.
“If that goes well,” Servais said, “we’ll look at activating him, possibly Wednesday (before the series finale against the Braves) or (this weekend) in New York.”
Phelps was 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA in seven appearances after the Mariners acquired him from Miami in a July 20 trade for four minor-league players. He is 3-5 with a 3.33 ERA overall in 51 games.