HOUSTON — James Paxton is back with the Mariners. But when he’ll return to the rotation is still yet to be determined. After staying in Seattle the past four days due to an illness, Paxton was feeling well enough to join the team in Houston. He arrived on Sunday evening. He’s also no longer contagious, which was a factor in him remaining in Seattle.
“They wouldn’t let me come back till I wasn’t contagious,” he said.
This isn’t an official diagnosis by Paxton or the medical staff, but he had “Flu-monia”
“The doctor said it was influenza with pneumonia to go with it,” Paxton said. “It was both.”
Think of it as a combo-plate of sickness.
“It wasn’t fun,” he said. “On the offday (Sept. 10), I woke up and it was probably that afternoon where I just started shivering. I had a really bad fever. And the fever stuck around for three or four days straight. It peaked at almost 104. I was stuck in bed or on the couch just laying there, everything was hurting. I can’t remember being that sick ever.”
Paxton credited his wife, Katie, for helping nurse him through it. He admitted that he is like most men when it comes to being sick — difficult to deal with.
“I tried to eat as much as I could and I was drinking a lot of Gatorade,” he said. “My wife took care me. She was forcing me to drink Gatorade and that kept me going.”
Even with his wife’s help, Paxton lost some weight and he has a reduced energy level. He said he felt tired after his catch sessions at Safeco Field the past few days.
“It took a lot out of me just to play catch,” he said. “But I’m just going to try and build up the energy level as quick as I can and get back out there. I’m getting stronger every day and I’m getting energy back. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
He will need to throw a bullpen session before returning to the rotation. He’s hoping that he will feel up to it on Tuesday or Wednesday. That would possibly slot him to throw in Arlington against the Rangers or back at Safeco in the final homestand of the season. While some fans want to shut him down, Paxton believes it’s important to make at least one or two more starts before the end of the season.
“That would be ideal,” he said. “I’d love to. I want to pitch as much as I can. Whether that’s one or two starts, I don’t know. We’ll have to see how it progresses.”
Paxton has made 26 starts this season, posting an 11-6 record with a 3.83 ERA. He’s struck out 194 batters in 1501⁄3 innings pitched.
Notes: The team’s charter plane was damaged on Sunday afternoon while getting setup on the tarmac. It forced the team to wait in Anaheim for an extra four hours for a new plane to arrive. Instead of landing in Houston around midnight, the Mariners got in around 4 a.m.
The Astros adjusted their starting rotation for the series, bumping back Gerrit Cole, who was scheduled to start on Tuesday. Houston will go with right-hander Josh James in Cole’s place. James posted a 6-4 record with a 3.40 ERA in 17 starts with Class AAA Fresno.