SEATTLE — James Paxton is the latest arm in the Seattle Mariners’ rotation to find his way to the disabled list.
Paxton was placed on the 15-day DL on Wednesday with a strained muscle on the left side of his back. The move was made after an MRI earlier in the day confirmed the original diagnosis of a strained latissimus dorsi muscle.
Paxton joins fellow starters Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker as spectators for the surprising early leaders of the AL West.
“It’s tough. I was feeling good out there and not the ideal situation,” Paxton said. “But (I’m) just going to deal with it and get ready to go.”
Paxton left Tuesday night’s win over the Los Angeles Angels in the sixth inning after feeling a twinge in the muscle. Paxton got the win, retiring 14 straight during one stretch to improve to 2-0.
Paxton originally felt something was off an inning before, but returned for the sixth. After giving up a single to Kole Calhoun, Paxton threw a first-pitch fastball to Mike Trout. The expression on his face caught the attention of manager Lloyd McClendon and he immediately went to the mound with a trainer.
“I think they saw it on my face and they were out of that dugout pretty fast,” Paxton said.
Paxton’s early outings were a bright spot for a Mariners rotation filled with questions because of injuries to Iwakuma (finger) and Walker (shoulder) that put them behind in spring training. Paxton threw seven shutout innings in his first start of the season and aside from giving up two early home runs on Tuesday, made another strong start.
In six career starts with the Mariners, Paxton is 5-0 with a 1.75 ERA. He said the plan for now is to get re-evaluated when the 15 days is up.
“I wasn’t sore this morning. I wasn’t hurting. My strength was really good. I was feeling pretty good about (the MRI),” Paxton said. “But we just want to be careful with it right now.”
Seattle recalled left-hander Lucas Luetge from Triple-A Tacoma to take Paxton’s roster spot. McClendon said right-hander Chris Young will take Paxton’s scheduled turn in the rotation Sunday against Oakland, but the Mariners will likely need another starter early next week during a seven-game road trip to Texas and Miami with the likely candidate being Blake Beavan, who is currently at Tacoma.