Mariners Observations: James Paxton pitches, Kelenic and Murphy updates

Mar 15, 2021, 5:51 PM | Updated: 6:10 pm

Mariners James Paxton...

James Paxton pitched four innings Monday against Mariners teammates. (AP)


As it turns out, the Mariners’ sim game Monday got a little more attention than most.

Catch up on the latest Jerry Dipoto Show with the Mariners GM

James Paxton, who was originally scheduled to make his Cactus League debut later in the afternoon against the Diamondbacks, instead got his “innings” on Field 2 with his rotation mates looking on from behind home plate.

Paxton threw four innings to teammates, including Shed Long Jr., who struck out on a fastball in his first plate appearance. Paxton threw all of his pitches and did not appear to give up many sim hits.

“He threw great today,” said Servais. “Getting down the mound good, landing his breaking balls. He looks good. He’s ready to go. I’m looking forward to getting him into some games against live competition soon.”

MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, who spoke Monday to Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto on MLB Network Radio, tweeted that Paxton, a Canadian citizen, hasn’t been able to pitch in Cactus League play yet due to work visa issues.

Ljay Newsome, who originally was scheduled to pitch the sim game, got Paxton’s start instead against the Diamondbacks in Seattle’s 6-2 loss (box score) and pitched well, throwing 3 2/3 innings, allowing one run on two hits and a walk while striking out three. Newsome, who the Mariners will likely keep stretched out at Triple-A Tacoma, has shown well this camp, with the cup of coffee he got in the big leagues last season giving him an idea of what he needed to do to take a step forward.

“When I left I needed an out pitch, I needed to sharpen up the breaking ball, so I went and had a different grip this offseason,” Newsome said. “I feel it has improved a lot from last season. It’s sharper, I can get more of a 12-6, I can kind of slide it depending on the hitter. It’s a lot sharper instead of that big loop last year and it’s a better weapon.”

His manager would agree that the new spike curve is an improvement.

“He has really improved,” said Servais. “I tip my hat to him. He went into the off season and wanted to tighten up the breaking ball. I thought he was really good today – he threw the ball outstanding doing what he does. He’s fun to watch pitch.”

Mariners notes

• In the “hopefully this is nothing” category, Servais revealed that catcher Tom Murphy is dealing with a bit of a hip issue, which limited him to DH on Monday.

“It’s nothing big,” he said. “If this was the regular season he would be playing through it but we’re not. We want to be careful and cautious with that. We expect him to be fine.”

• Jarred Kelenic, who is coming off an adductor strain in his left knee, hit on the field for the second straight day and continues to progress toward returning to games. Next box to check will be hitting against live arm pitching, then soon after he could be cleared to return to Cactus League games.

“I’m leaning on the training staff here, they’re directing this one making sure he is good to go,” said Servais. “We all know that young players are really anxious and excited and nobody more so than Jarred, he wants to get out there and do his thing and certainly don’t want to hold him back but I am taking our lead from the medical staff on this one.”

• Left field candidate Taylor Trammell had another good day in Cactus League play, going 1 for 2 with a double, a walk and a run scored against Arizona and making a sliding catch in right.

The bats were otherwise pretty quiet for the Mariners, who had just five hits against Diamondbacks pitching.

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Previously: Kikuchi, bullpen keep Mariners’ strong pitching run going

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