Greetings from Cheney Stadium.
James Paxton just wrapped up his third rehab start here in Tacoma, pitching 4 1/3 innings, giving up one run on six hits with three walks and five strikeouts. He threw 78 pitches with 47 strikes.
“I felt good,” he said. ” No pain at all. I feel like it’s getting closer. I’m still missing down with my fastball. The breaking stuff felt really good, curveball and cutter felt really good. My change-up was good. It’s just finding the release point with my fastball. But I feel like I took a good step forward today.”
Paxton faced 20 batters. He got first pitch strikes on 11 of them. Many of the misses came on fastballs that were down on the zone.
“It’s better to miss there than up,” he said. “I feel like it’s a small adjustment and I will be able to get my fastball where I want it.”
Paxton’s fastball was right around 92-94 mph and touched 95. His cutter was around 88-89 mph.
There was a scary moment in the second inning when Jose Martinez hit a hard one hopper off his left ankle in the second inning. Paxton was in obvious pain. After meeting with trainers and a few warmup tosses, he stayed in the game.
“The ankle is fine,” he said. “I took a pretty good shot off of it. It got me right off the bone, but luckily I have those high cleats and it covered it up a little bit. I got it wrapped up now. Some ice and it shouldn’t be a problem. Now I know how the hitters feel now when they foul it off their foot.”
Paxton will travel with the team to Cleveland tonight and will throw a bullpen session midweek. If all goes well, he could move into the fifth spot in the rotation and start on Saturday, August 2 in Baltimore.