James Paxton appeared to be on the verge of coming off the disabled list and rejoining the Mariners’ rotation after missing the past six weeks with a shoulder injury, but now the rookie left-hander has been shut down again.
Paxton threw 62 pitches in a minor-league rehab start Saturday at Triple-A for his first game action since April 8, but then complained of soreness and underwent an MRI exam that revealed shoulder inflammation. Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that he’ll be completely shut down for at least one week, so returning to the majors before July now seems unlikely.
Paxton was very impressive in his first two starts before the injury and, combined with his strong MLB debut for the Mariners last September, he has a 5-0 record and 1.75 ERA through six career starts. He also ranked as a consensus top-100 prospect coming into the season.
Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Giants are engaged in “serious discussions” with the Reds to acquire center fielder Billy Hamilton. Talks are apparently advanced enough that a deal could be completed before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday.
It’s no secret that the Giants would like to make an upgrade in the outfield this offseason, as the club has also been linked to Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. Currently, the Giants’ outfield consists of Denard Span, Hunter Pence, and Jarrett Parker.
Hamilton, 27, owns a meager .248/.298/.334 batting line across parts of five seasons in the majors with the Reds. However, he has plenty of speed, having stolen at least 56 bases in each of the last four seasons. Hamilton is also well-regarded for his defense, which would be a boon at spacious AT&T Park.
Hamilton is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He’s projected to earn $5 million for this coming season. Buchanan notes that the Rangers are also interested in potentially acquiring Hamilton.