ANAHEIM, Calif. — Seattle Mariners left-hander James Paxton won the debate — it was a mild debate — but the bottom line is he will start Sunday, as he wanted to do, when the Mariners close out the season against the Los Angeles Angels.
“Skip gave me the option,” Paxton said. “My body feels great. My innings aren’t an issue. So I want to run it out there one more time and go get them.”
It will be Paxton’s fourth start since returning from a five-week stay on the disabled list because of a strained left pectoral muscle.
“We had a good talk,” manager Scott Servais said, “and he feels like his mechanics and timing are really coming along. He just wants to go out there one more time and finish off the season.
“It will be on a limited basis. Kind of what it was the last time out (83 pitches). We’ll see how the game is going, but we’re not going to run him out there for 110 pitches. Absolutely not.”
Paxton was 12-3 with a 2.78 ERA through 20 starts when he suffered the injury but has been shaky since returning: 0-2 while allowing eight runs and 14 hits in 10 1/3 innings.
“This gives me one more game to go out there and feel good about where I’m at coming into next season,” he said. “I feel I took a big step forward last game out (when he gave up three runs in 5 1/3 innings at Oakland).
“If I can continue that with the next one and go into the offseason feeling good, there are nothing but positives for me.”
Iwakuma undergoes surgery
Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma made a brief appearance at the Mariners’ clubhouse just two days after undergoing arthroscopic right shoulder debridement surgery in Dallas.
Iwakuma, 36, is expected to resume throwing in five months.
“The surgery was operated successfully so I’m relieved!” Iwakuma reported in a Facebook post. “I’ll do my best to rehabilitate for the return of (the) new season.”
The procedure was performed by Dr. Keith Meister. A debridement procedure removes dead, damaged, or infected tissue in an effort to improve the healing of healthy tissue.
Iwakuma was 0-2 with a 4.35 ERA in six starts before going on the disabled list after a May 3 start against the Angels at Safeco Field. He led the Mariners last season with a career-high 16 victories.
The injury prevented Iwakuma from pitching the necessary 125 inning to trigger a $15 million vesting option for next season.
The Mariners still hold a $10 million club option but are expected to exercise a $1 million buyout clause, which would make Iwakuma a free agent.
Iwakuma is 63-39 with a 3.42 ERA in six seasons since signing with the Mariners after pitching 11 seasons for Kintetsu and Rakuten in Japan’s Pacific League.
Concerns for Diaz
Closer Edwin Diaz said he’s been in contact with his family in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico and “everyone is fine at this point.”
Diaz is planning to head home after the season to aid in recovery efforts, which prompted a not-unexpected plea from Servais to be careful.
“It’s very dire down there right now,” Servais said. “He’s got to be very cognizant of the decisions he’s making.
“Like we all felt like when we were 23, you feel like you’re invincible. I’m in the big leagues. I throw 100 miles an hour. Nothing is going to happen to me. We play a game. There are things that are bigger than the game, and this is one of them.”