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James Paxton, Felix Hernandez inch closer to rejoining Seattle's rotation

MLB, Seattle Mariners

The Seattle Mariners plan to welcome back Felix Hernandez and James Paxton to their rotation next week, additions the team hopes can ignite a late surge up the AL wild-card standings. 

Both pitchers threw simulated games in Seattle on Friday. Manager Scott Servais said the plan is for each to throw bullpen sessions early next week before rejoining the rotation. 

"Very encouraging, positive signs, and both guys look on track to get in the rotation next week," Servais told reporters, according to The Seattle Times. 

"You might see one in Texas (for a series that starts Monday) and one in Houston (for a series that starts Friday)," Servais said. "We've played around with a couple different scenarios depending on what it looked like today. We'll talk about it some more and get it mapped out."

Paxton has been out since mid-August with a pectoral strain. When not injured, he's been one of the AL's top starters, going 12-3 with a 2.78 ERA. 

"I felt good," the left-hander told reporters Friday. "No issues with the (pectoral muscle). Rhythm felt pretty good. I dialed some pitches in there towards the end and threw some good cutters. I got my curveball over toward the end, which was good to feel and see. Overall, it was a good day."

Hernandez, out since Aug. 5 with shoulder bursitis, is 5-4 with a 4.28 ERA this year. 

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