Mariners notebook: James Paxton on his way up
By Shannon Drayer
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Mariners manager Eric Wedge said Monday morning that he could give the names of the players who would be called up Tuesday. He wanted them to find out first. Apparently one has as left-hander James Paxton was told after being lifted early from Sunday night’s game with the Rainiers that he would be heading to the big leagues.
The Mariners will need another starter for the final month as Taijuan Walker will be shut down after he reaches his innings limit, most likely after his third start on Sept. 9. I asked Wedge Monday morning if he had an idea of who he would like to get those starts and he indicated that person is not here yet.
“We have got a couple of things. We can talk more about that tomorrow,” Wedge said.
It doesn’t appear that Paxton will be traveling with a large group of teammates, however, as Wedge said they were looking to add just three or four more players.
One recent callup and one very welcome return in the lineup Monday.
Brad Miller, 6
Nick Franklin, 4
Kyle Seager, 5
Kendrys Morales, DH
Justin Smoak, 3
Michael Saunders, 9
Mike Zunino, 2
Dustin Ackley, 7
Abraham Almonte, 8
Almonte, making his third start out of four, is in center. The Royals like to run and I am hoping he gets a chance to show off the arm. General manager Jack Zduriencik said a week ago it is the best in the Mariners’ outfield and Miller told me on Sunday to watch for it and to not be surprised if he gets someone at first from right field someday.
“He loves to throw,” Miller said. “I think he caught Smoak off guard the other day, but just watch. He will double someone off.”
On the Royals running note, they currently lead the league in stolen bases so no soft landing for Mike Zunino. Zunino says he is 100 percent coming off the hamate surgery, but Wedge said they would be careful with him early.
Zunino hasn’t caught Felix a ton but the hope is he does in the future. Felix, of course, is coming off a terrible start where his changeup was a concern. He wasn’t getting the break on it that he normally does and said that would be a focus in his work.