The Mariners will have a new starter tonight, but won't have closer J. J. Putz for their weekend series against the Washington Nationals...

The Mariners will have a new starter tonight, but won’t have closer J.J. Putz for their weekend series against the Washington Nationals.

Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey will start tonight at Safeco Field, replacing Miguel Batista. Batista, who pitched in relief Monday, will go to the bullpen, which will be without Putz for at least three games.

Putz came out of Wednesday’s game at Toronto with a sore right elbow. An MRI Thursday revealed a hyperextended elbow that resulted in triceps tendon inflammation and an irritated ulnar nerve, according to the team. The exam showed no damage to the ulnar collateral ligament or the flexor bundle in the elbow, the Mariners said.

Putz will be re-evaluated Monday.

Batista has struggled recently and is 3-7 with a 6.00 earned-run average. He has more walks (44) than strikeouts (41) and hasn’t lasted beyond 5-1/3 innings in six of his past seven starts. Batista hasn’t won since May 11.

Erik Bedard will follow Dickey on Saturday, followed by Jarrod Washburn on Sunday.

Carlos Silva and Felix Hernandez would be next.

M’s sign draft picks

Seattle signed 23 players who were drafted last week, but none of its top four picks.

The highest draft pick signed was right-hander Brett Lorin, the team’s fifth-round selection. Lorin was 5-3 with a 2.61 ERA for Long Beach State in 15 games, including eight starts.

The players signed Thursday will be assigned to the Class A Everett AquaSox, or rookie-league teams in Pulaski, Va., or Peoria, Ariz.