James Paxton has been recalled to take Felix Hernandez's place in the starting rotation Wednesday night at San Diego.
SAN DIEGO — The Mariners will be without ace Felix Hernandez for the next two weeks. On Wednesday, the pending roster move that would have lefty James Paxton join the Mariners was completed with the announcement that Hernandez was being placed on the disabled list because of a strained right calf. The DL stint is retroactive to May 28, meaning he would be eligible to return June 12.
Paxton will take Hernandez’s spot in the rotation and was scheduled to start Wednesday night’s game at Petco Park against the Padres.
Hernandez did not fly with the team to San Diego and was examined by team orthopedist Dr. Edward Khalfayan on Wednesday in Seattle. He was diagnosed with a calf strain.
“It’s disappointing,” manager Scott Servais said. “Obviously, we had to keep things quiet. We didn’t really know until the doctor saw him this morning if it was going to be a couple of days or be a DL. We got the news that it was best to DL him with a calf strain.”
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The injury occurred before Wednesday’s game. There had been no previous issues with the calf this season. Servais called it “a freak deal.”
“Yesterday, I guess it was during his workout and doing some stretching before the game,” Servais said. “I found out during the game. Our doctor looked at it and wanted to get a MRI right away to see where he was at because he was supposed to pitch today. That’s why we had to get the ball rolling with Paxton before we knew what was going to happen.”
The injury is not thought to be too serious, and Hernandez should be ready to return when the 15 days are up. In 10 starts this season, he’s 4-4 with a 2.86 ERA with 53 strikeouts in 63 innings.
“Right now I’m hopeful that it’s only a couple of starts and we can get him back as soon as possible,” Servais said. “We’ll try to keep the glass half full and stay positive. Hopefully he’ll have a little bit left in his tank at the end of the year because he’ll get a little breather now. It has nothing to do with his arm. It has everything to do with his calf. It’s important. It’s his right leg and his push-off leg. And we all know his delivery and how much torque he puts on that leg. We’ve got to be careful when he comes back.”
Hernandez will remain in Seattle while the Mariners are on the five-game road trip. Servais said the injury won’t stop Hernandez from keeping his arm “activated” with exercises and light throwing.
“I just got off the phone with him,” Servais said. “Just seeing where he’s at mentally. He’s disappointed. He’s sore today. It’s bothering him a little bit walking around.”
Paxton was scratched from his scheduled start with Class AAA Tacoma on Tuesday night causing massive speculation among fans on social media. He flew to San Diego on Tuesday night. In 10 starts with the Rainiers, he’s 4-3 with a 3.97 ERA with 50 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings.
This is the third career DL stint for Hernandez, 30. The previous time was June 23, 2008, when he sprained an ankle covering home plate on a wild pitch. It was the same game he hit a grand slam off Johan Santana. The first time Hernandez went on the DL was April 19, 2007, because of a strained flexor-pronator muscle in his forearm. He was lifted in the first inning of his start after feeling stiffness near his elbow.