- Associated Press - Saturday, March 4, 2017

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Seattle Mariners left-hander James Paxton got loose, throwing 40 pitches Saturday against Colorado in his spring training debut.

Paxton, a projected part of the Mariners‘ starting rotation along with Felix Hernandez, Drew Smyly, Hisashi Iwakuma and Yovani Gallardo, went two innings. He gave up two runs, those coming on a home run by Ian Desmond, and three hits.

Paxton went 6-7 with a 3.79 ERA in 20 starts last season, spending almost three weeks on the disabled list with an elbow injury in August. Some of Paxton’s best starts in 2016 came toward the end of the season when the Mariners were competing for a wild-card spot.

After throwing batting practice earlier this spring, Paxton came out of the bullpen. He’ll be starting for now on.

“Felt good to get back on the mound again and face some hitters. It had been a while,” Paxton said. “I’ll be definitely ready for three innings next time. Definitely felt a little bit off today, timing wasn’t very good. But that will come, first time out there.”

Paxton missed with a cutter to Desmond, who took advantage of the mistake.

Gallardo started for the Mariners and went three scoreless innings, striking out three and giving up one hit.

“It was nice to see those two guys out there, looking comfortable, got all their pitches working,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said of Gallardo.

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