Seattle also brought up three right-handed pitchers from Class AAA Tacoma -- Christian Bergman, Casey Lawrence and Mike Morin.
DENVER — Per the plan set in place for him, days before the pain in his lower back became an issue, James Paxton wasn’t going pitch again before the All-Star break and he wasn’t scheduled to pitch in the first series coming out of the All-Star break.
But now, by Major League Baseball rules, he officially won’t be eligible to pitch for the Mariners until July 24.
The Mariners placed Paxton on the 10-day disabled list with lower back inflammation as one of a series of roster moves made before they opened a three-game series vs. the Rockies at Coors Field on Friday night.
The official moves:
- James Paxton, LHP, placed on the 10-day disabled list with lower back inflammation.
- Christian Bergman, RHP, recalled from AAA Tacoma.
- Casey Lawrence, RHP, recalled from AAA Tacoma.
- Mike Morin, RHP, selected from AAA Tacoma.
- Gordon Beckham, INF, optioned to AAA Tacoma (post-game 7/12).
- Nick Rumbelow, RHP, optioned to AAA Tacoma (post-game 7/12).
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In his final start before the All-Star break on Thursday night in Anaheim, Paxton was forced out of the game in the first inning with lower back tightness. He had given up three runs and recorded two outs. While the Mariners don’t believe the back injury is significant, they decided to use the All-Star break to their advantage from a roster standpoint and place Paxton on the disabled list and add an extra reliever.
In 20 starts this season, Paxton is 8-4 with a 3.70 ERA. Prior to the injury, the Mariners were going to use the All-Star break and a few days after to give Paxton extended rest to gear up for the second half of the season. They are employing a similar strategy with fellow lefty Marco Gonzales. That plan hasn’t really been adjusted with the DL stint. Paxton was scheduled to start the first of the two-game series vs. the Giants before the injury and he remains on track to do so.
“It gives us an extra player in this series,” manager Scott Servais said of the decision. “He wasn’t scheduled to pitch again for 10 days. It makes all the sense the world.”
Paxton seemed optimistic that he would be ready go by then.
“Standing here, I feel fine,” he said. “I think it’s a fast-twitch muscle thing when I try to really torque that muscle there. I don’t think it’s too serious. If it was more serious, I wouldn’t be able to walk or stand here. I think I just need a little bit of rest, a little bit of time, a little bit of TLC and I’ll be ready to go after the break.”
Bergman was called up to start the series opener vs. the Rockies in place of the injured Felix Hernandez. Bergman gave up five earned runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings. He’s made one other spot start this season for the Mariners, pitching seven scoreless innings and allowing two hits against the Tigers in Detroit.
Lawrence and Morin were brought in to bolster the bullpen and provide fresh arms for the series in the hitter friendly confines of Coors Field.
This will be Lawrence’s third stint with Mariners this season. He made four relief appearances for Seattle earlier this season, posting a 10.13 ERA.
“He’s been starting and has length,” Servais said. “No issues there. Casey has been with us a lot and we know him.”
Morin is on his second call-up to the Mariners. He made two relief appearances in early June, posting a 4.50 ERA and was then designated for assignment on June 14. He cleared waivers and was outrighted to Class AAA Tacoma.
“He gives us an extra arm and we could need it with the double switching,” Servais said. “In this ballpark, you need all the help you can get.”
Beckham was called up on Tuesday and had one at-bat in the three-game series vs. the Angels.
Rumbelow struggled in his second call-up this season, giving up four runs, including two homers in an inning in Thursday’s loss to the Angels. In eight relief appearances, he has a 7.84 ERA.
“Nick knew right away when I called him in, he said, ‘I have to be better and I’m making so many mistakes,'” Servais said. “Last night, it was a couple of breaking balls that were bad pitches that were left in the happy zone — not below the zone, not high enough, just right in the hit zone and they didn’t miss it. I still like Nick. I think he’s going to be a good Major League reliever, but it’s just not happening right now with how he’s using his stuff. And he’s missing locations.”