Mariners ace Paxton out at least 3 weeks

Seattle left-hander James Paxton will miss at least three weeks after an MRI on Friday revealed a strained pectoral muscle, further depleting the Mariners’ injury-ravaged starting rotation.

Paxton felt pain in his left pectoral while throwing a pitch in the seventh inning of his start against the Angels on Thursday. He exited the game, but was hopeful when he woke up without pain on Friday that the injury wasn’t significant. However, the MRI and an examination by team physician Dr. Edward Khalfayan revealed the extent of the injury and Paxton was placed on the 10-day disabled list.

His stay on the DL will be longer, but how long remains to be seen.

“It could be three weeks,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “Obviously, It’s disheartening news. No doubt. It’s been a crazy season. It really has been with all the injuries. To put ourselves in the position we’re in right now, a lot of it has had to do with James Paxton. There’s no doubt. He’s been really, really good.

Andrew Moore was recalled to fill Paxton’s roster spot and gave up four runs in relief against the Angels on Friday as Seattle lost a 5-1 lead in the seventh inning.

Paxton has emerged as the Mariners’ ace this season, posting a 12-3 record with a 2.78 ERA in 119 2/3 innings and had started to enter the Cy Young conversation. Now the remainder of his season is in doubt, and it’s the second stint on the DL for a pitcher who is becoming all too familiar with injuries.

“I was talking to the doctor this morning, Khalfayan, he said it was a very rare injury to see in pitchers,” Paxton said. “I feel like I’ve had enough of those. But just another rare injury that is pretty uncommon with pitchers. He said that’s what we’re dealing with, and we’ll just have to treat it as we go and do the best we can with it.”

While frustrated by his latest injury, Paxton said he refuses to get him disheartened.

“It doesn’t help me at all,” he said. “It doesn’t help the team at all for me to be like that. It’s not going to make me better, faster if I go that route. So I have to just stay positive. My role now is to get healthy and do everything I can every day to get healthy and get back on that mound. I want to be out there helping this team get to where we want to be in the postseason.”

The Mariners are already without Felix Hernandez, who is on the disabled list for the second time this season with inflammation in his shoulder. Hisashi Iwakuma and Drew Smyly are already lost for the season due to arm injuries.

Moore posted a 1-3 record with a 5.65 ERA in six starts for the Mariners earlier this season. The team could also look at options at Triple-A Tacoma or outside of the organization for someone to fill Paxton’s spot.

“We have to find a way to keep it rolling here,” Servais said. ” You can look at it as a challenge or look at it as a threat. We’ll take the challenge. It’s going to be a challenge. There’s no doubt. But we’ll put a plan together and figure out how we can keep things afloat until we get him back.”


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