Mariners vs. Twins 7.8.14 Lineups, Pre-game Notes: Paxton making progress

It is a beautiful afternoon at Safeco Field where the Mariners and Twins are getting ready to play Game 2 of a four-game set. The Mariners took the first game Monday with a 2-0 shutout win behind the sterling effort of Hisashi Iwakuma who pitched seven innings and extended a scoreless inning streak versus the Twins to 33.2 innings. The Mariners, though, had five hits for the second consecutive game. Two went for solo home runs and held up as the deciders.

The pre-game news on the Mariners end is the recall of C Jesus Sucre from Triple-A Tacoma where he was hitting .274 through 48 games with some impressive defensive statistics including a caught-stealing percentage over 50. Make no mistake about it, his defensive abilities are why he got the call now and Seattle decided to send John Buck home on his birthday. I will have a full post on Sucre and what his addition means for the club later on.

The Mariners trot out the same nine guys as last night in a slightly different order as Lloyd McClendon tries to take some pressure off Corey Hart and get back to what was working in the heart of the order.

Mariners (49-40)
1. Michael Saunders (L) rf
2. James Jones (L) cf
3. Robinson Cano (L) 2b
4. Kyle Seager (L) 3b
5. Logan Morrison (L) 1b
6. Corey Hart dh
7. Dustin Ackley (L) lf
8. Mike Zunino c
9. Brad Miller (L) ss
rhp Chris Young (8-4, 3.11 ERA)

Twins (39-49)
1. Brian Dozier 2b
2. Eduardo Nunez 3b
3. Kurt Suzuki c
4. Kendrys Morales (s) dh
5. Josh Willingham lf
6. Oswaldo Arcia (L) rf
7. Chris Colabello 1b
8. Eduardo Escobar (s) ss
9. Sam Fuld (L) cf
rhp Phil Hughes (8-5, 3.95 ERA)

Worth Noting
– LHP James Paxton (shoulder inflammation, lat strain) pitched a two-inning simulated game Tuesday afternoon. He threw 32 pitches, using his entire repertoire and he and pitching coach Rick Waits came away very pleased with his progress. Next for Paxton is a 50-pitch sim gam Saturday, once that is completed the team will decide whether to send him on a rehab assignment with Everett or to give him a third sim game. Two rehab starts are expected regardless, so an Aug. 1 return looks likely.
“I feel like I’m right where I should be or better right now,” Paxton said. “Things are looking up.”
When asked if he feels closer to 100 percent this time around as opposed to the previous build-up process in May as he worked back from the lat strain that initially put him on the 15-day disabled list, Paxton confirmed he does.
“Right now it’s a different feeling for sure. The first sim game this time compared to last time I feel a lot looser, a lot more fluid and the ball is jumping out of my hand better,” said Paxton.
Hopefully that means there are no set-backs this time around.

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