James Paxton looks to have a breakout season with the Seattle Mariners

Posted: April 7, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Seattle Mariners Pitcher James Paxton is ready for the 2015 MLS season.

Seattle Mariners Pitcher James Paxton is ready for the 2015 MLB season.

VANCOUVER, B.C – The Seattle Mariners are expected to do big things this season as many prognosticators have picked Seattle to win the American League West and quite possibly make the World Series. The pitching rotation has always been a strong point for the Mariners and this season Ladner, B.C. native James Paxton will be relied on heavily to deliver a tremendous breakthrough season.

Paxton will make his season debut against the Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim tonight at Safeco Field. The Mariners opened the season with a dominating 4-1 victory over the Angles thanks in part to a brilliant showing by Felix Hernandez. His line included 7 innings pitched and 10 strikeouts. While Paxton won’t step into the AL Cy Young calibre shoes that King Felix has. He does hope to stay healthy and provide the Mariners with a chance to win each and every time he takes the mound.

“My goal is to stay healthy for the entire season and make all of my starts the team wants me to make, and pitch as many innings as possible, and give our team a chance to win.”

The 26 year-old missed a large chunk of the 2014 season with a lingering lat muscle injury. Paxton made a pair of starts last April before being sidelined until August 2. The lat injury that James Paxton suffered does not put him at a greater risk for the increasingly popular Tommy John surgery.

“No, I don’t think so. I’ve worked really hard with our trainers and I’ve been doing a bunch of stretches and workouts to strengthen that area. I’ve got everything ready to go for the season.”

During the early stages of Mariners spring training health was not in the cards for Paxton. An agility drill caused Paxton to trip and fall. He injured both of his arms. X-rays came back negative, but it took almost a month to fully recover. In a trio of spring training starts on March 22, March 27, and April 1, Paxton posted the following combined numbers.

10.1 innings pitched, 19 H, 12 R, 9 ER, 5 BB, and 6 strikeouts.

If Paxton is going to be successful this season he will rely on four special pitches when he is on the mound. His fastball and curveball will remain as his bread and butter and he’s also working on something new.

“My go to pitch is my fastball. I’m kind of a power-fastball guy and my curveball has been a big pitch for me so far. I’m also looking to continue to get my changeup and cutter better.”

The six-foot and four-inch ‘southpaw’ would like to cut down on his walks. Working the inner and outside corners of a strike zone can only work to a pitchers advantage if he has excellent control. Paxton feels that he has a handle on the amount of walks he gives up much more now than in his past.

“I think that’s something that I really worked hard at. In the minor leagues I struggled with my location a little bit, but I’ve made some adjustments in the past couple of years. I feel like I’ve really made my delivery compact and easier to repeat. I’ve gotten a lot better at lowering my pitch count in games.”

The former Kentucky Wildcat pitcher can always count on family and friends to support him for all of his home starts at Safeco Field. Growing up in Ladner, Paxton cheered for the Mariners, his favourite player was fellow left-hander, Randy Johnson. Now that Paxton has made the show he always has a lot of fun pitching for those who have supported him along the way to where he is now.

“It’s very special for me because every start that I have down in Seattle, my parents come down, family comes down, and friends. It’s always a lot of fun. My parents are always there, my brother is there most of the time, and I’ve also got family in Seattle that come to the games. I’ve always got friends that are wanting to come down and watch me pitch. They usually come down in groups. There’s usually quite a few.”

The Mariners offense is expected to be even better than what was shown last season. All-star second baseman Robinson Cano will have some protection in the Mariners lineup thanks to the December signing of Nelson Cruz. Seattle General Manager Jack Zduriencik signed Cruz to a $57 million, four-year contract. James Paxton knows this is a complete game changer for the Mariners.

“I’m very excited. It’s going to be great to have a power bat like that in our lineup. I really think it’s going to complete our lineup and make it one of the most dangerous ones to face for other teams.”

Seattle pitching has always been outstanding with Felix Hernandez leading the way. James Paxton and Taijuan Walker should take a huge step in 2015 to help the Mariners get back to the post-season. Scoring runs has always been a question mark, but this year that won’t be the case. The Mariners will channel the Seattle Seahawks by making the playoffs and going on a long post-season run.

Notes: James Paxton notes that the toughest batter he has faced in his career is Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers. ‘Miggy’ is three for five with a pair of doubles and a walk against Paxton.

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