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7/19/2014 8:15 P.M. ET

Walker struggles with command in rehab

ANAHEIM -- Right-hander Taijuan Walker, 21, possibly the next piece in completing the Mariners' second-half rotation, went five innings Friday in a victory for Triple-A Tacoma, but needed 90 pitches to do so.

"He's OK. He's working at it. He's getting better," manager Lloyd McClendon said of the report on Walker, who made two starts for the Mariners earlier this summer (1-1, 3.60) before being sent back.

"Ninty pitches in five innings is not too good," McClendon said. "This game is all about fastball command. You don't have command of the fastball, you're going to throw a lot of pitches."

Paxton set for two more rehab starts before return

ANAHEIM -- Left-hander James Paxton completed a 40-pitch bullpen workout Saturday at Angel Stadium, and reported all is going well in his comeback from a late-spring lat strain.

"I'm feeling great," said Paxton, who made his second rehab start Thursday, working 2 2/3 innings for Short Season Everett. "The bullpen went great, so we're looking forward."

He said he's scheduled to throw 60 pitches Tuesday in his next rehab start, for Triple-A Tacoma. Paxton, 25, is expected to make at least one more rehab start after that one before possibly rejoining the Mariners rotation.

Now that he's physically fine, Paxton said, his next goals "are to execute my stuff in a competitive situation, throw more strikes with my offspeed pitches, and hit my spots better."

Worth noting

• Right fielder Stefen Romero, just recalled from Tacoma, made just his 10th MLB start this season against a right-hander, batting second against the Angels' Garrett Richards on Saturday. Romero hit just .192 vs. RHP in his first Mariners stint this year, but had two homers in just 52 at-bats. He had one homer in 96 at-bats against left-handers, while batting .198.

Mike Zunino, who caught all 16 innings Friday, said he felt fine the day after, but got a start off from McClendon. Jesus Sucre, who's been up since July 8, opened as Felix Hernandez's batterymate. Sucre made his first start July 12, catching Hisashi Iwakuma in a 6-2 victory over the A's.


Earl Bloom is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.