SEATTLE (AP) — Mariners left-hander James Paxton was placed on the 10-day disabled list Friday with a left forearm strain, another blow for Seattle’s already short-handed starting rotation.
The Mariners believe the injury is minor and Paxton will only miss two or three starts. But Paxton is the third pitcher from the projected starting rotation at the beginning of spring training to find himself on the disabled list, joining Drew Smyly (60-day DL) and Felix Hernandez (10-day DL).
Paxton has been one of baseball’s best pitchers through the first month of the season with a 3-0 record and 1.43 ERA.
“These are curveballs that happen. It just seems that they’ve been extreme,” Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “You can’t plan for these things. We’ve tried to create as much depth as we can. I think it’s working in the outfield, it worked in the infield. We’re still hitting a lot of rocky patches on the pitching staff. That’s pitching.”
Seattle made a flurry of roster moves before opening a three-game series against Texas, including Paxton going on the disabled list. The Mariners other big move was optioning starting catcher Mike Zunino to Triple-A Tacoma and recalling Tuffy Gosewisch. An excellent defensive catcher, Zunino was hitting just .167 in 24 games and was 2 for 20 in the past eight games.
Seattle also recalled infielder Mike Freeman and relief pitcher Evan Marshall and optioned outfielder Boog Powell to Tacoma.
Paxton said he first felt forearm discomfort after his start April 26 at Detroit, when he threw seven shutout innings. Paxton attributed the discomfort to normal soreness, but the feeling he had pitching against the Angels last Tuesday was different, at which point he alerted the Mariners’ medical staff.
Paxton had an MRI that revealed the Grade 1 strain. Dipoto said he believes the Mariners were fortunate to catch the injury before it got any worse.
“In the L.A. game, it just got tighter and tighter as the game went on, and once I came out of the game, it was pretty sore,” Paxton said.
In four of his six starts, he has not allowed an earned run, and his 45 strikeouts were third in the American League. Paxton was scheduled to start Sunday against Texas in the finale of a homestand. It will likely be either Dillon Overton, currently in Seattle’s bullpen, or Triple-A pitcher Christian Bergman getting the start.
Dipoto also said Hernandez appears to be a little ahead in his recovery from bursitis in his pitching shoulder. Hernandez is likely to begin a throwing program in the next few days, Dipoto said, and is hopeful it will be closer to three weeks that Hernandez will ultimately miss.
“Fingers crossed, we’re probably closer to the optimistic three weeks, rather than the four week mark,” Dipoto said. “Felix will probably tell you it is two (weeks).”
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