The Mariners decided to scratch starter James Paxton from his scheduled start on Tuesday in Anaheim due to lingering tightness in his elbow/forearm area. Paxton was struck by a line drive in his previous start on August 7 and the team is being cautious with the injury.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Scott Servais tried to find a moment’s worth of humor in a situation that has become kick-the-wall frustrating. When his comment from this weekend about the plans for his starting rotation being day-to-day was mentioned, the Mariners’ manager smiled and with half a chuckle, replied, “See, I told you I wasn’t kidding. It really is day-to-day.”
Just moments earlier Servais had announced that left-hander James Paxton had been scratched from his start on Tuesday because of lingering tightness in his left forearm/elbow area, the result of being struck by a line drive off the bat of Andrelton Simmons in his last start on Aug. 7 at Safeco Field. Left-hander Ariel Miranda, who might have started Wednesday’s game, will make the start instead in the second game of the series at Angels Stadium.
“I talked with James Paxton a little earlier and there’s still some concern about a little tightness in his forearm,” Servais said. “He got smoked the other day. We are going to do the right thing and so Paxton is not going to start for us tomorrow. We are going to go with Miranda and Wednesday’s starter is still to be determined.”
Paxton threw a bullpen session on Saturday in Oakland to test the elbow. He admitted there was some residual tightness in the elbow/forearm area when he threw, but felt no pain. All signs pointed to him starting on Tuesday. But that remaining tightness hadn’t dissipated as hoped over the last two days. Paxton met with team medical staff, including head athletic trainer Rick Griffin on Monday to check on the injury to make sure he was ready to go. Some of the swelling and tightness from the massive bruise on his elbow had moved into the forearm area.
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“That’s pretty common,” Servais said. “That blood has to go somewhere.”
The decision was made to push Paxton back.
“This is all from talking with James earlier today,” Servais said. “He wants to go, he wants to take the ball. But we’ve got to do the right thing here. When he threw his bullpen the other day, he was probably was at 75 percent. But just listening to him and in talking with Rick, we think it’s the right thing to do to give him a few more days and see where he’s at.”
Servais wasn’t certain when Paxton would return and wouldn’t even put this weekend as a hopeful goal. Realistically, it might be most prudent for the Mariners to place him on the 15-day disabled list. The DL stint would be retroactive to August 8, the day after Paxton last pitched, meaning he’d be eligible to return on Monday, August 22 against the Yankees. Servais admitted it’s an option. And it would be illogical to carry Paxton if he can’t start before then.
“We want to make sure he has no reservations about taking the ball and going out there and being able to compete at close to 100 percent,” Servais said. “Right now, I think it’s the right thing to do.”
It may be the right thing to do, but it certainly doesn’t make it any easier for the Mariners, who came into Monday just two games out of the wild card race, yet are still playing patchwork with their starting rotation. Only Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma remain from the opening day group. That starter on Wednesday could be right-hander Joe Wieland or Cody Martin. There aren’t a lot of great options at Class AAA Tacoma. General manager Jerry Dipoto may have to look at adding another arm via a trade of a player not on an opposing team’s 40-man roster or a waiver deal.
It’s not an ideal situation to be in for a team in the midst of a race for a postseason spot.
“It’s challenging,” Servais said. “Teams have done it before. You are trying to plug guys in there to keep you in games and suck up innings. Fortunately for us, our bullpen has been very good for us lately. So if we can get to those guys in the sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth inning, we are in pretty good shape.”
Relievers Tony Zych and Evan Scribner were transferred to Class AA Jackson as part of their rehab stints. They each pitched one inning for the Generals on Monday night.
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On this day in Mariners’ history
There was this …
Here’s Larry Stone’s column from that day.
What’s even more coincidental is that Felix also had one of his worst outings of his career on August 15 too.
Check it out:
- 2012 – Felix Hernandez threw the 23rd perfect game in Major League Baseball History in a 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. Felix retired all 27 batters he faced on 113 pitches, recording 12 strikeouts. He had only three 3-ball counts all game. Jesus Montero knocked in the game’s only run with a 2-out, RBI single in the 3rd inning to score Brendan Ryan. It was the third no-hitter in 2012 at Safeco Field, the most in one venue since 1917.
- 2015 – Felix Hernandez matched a career-high by allowing 10 runs in a 22-10 loss at Boston…Mariners allowed 15 runs in consecutive games for the first time in franchise history…surrendered 37 runs in the first 2 games of a series, most for any 2-game span in franchise history. Here’s my story from that tire fire.
Also on this date …
- 1986 – Mike Moore tosses a two-hit shutout good for a 1-0 win vs. Minnesota.
- 1989 – The Mariners defeat Texas, 2-0, as Brian Holman and Mike Schooler combined to blank the Rangers on THIRTEEN hits while Seattle mustered two runs on just ONE base hit off Charlie Hough.
- 1995 – The Minnesota Twins score five unearned runs in the ninth inning to down the Mariners 7-6. The good news was the return of Ken Griffey Jr. to the lineup from his wrist injury (May 26) and the acquisition of speedy left fielder Vince Coleman for a PTBNL (Jim Converse, RHP).
- 1997 – In game one of a doubleheader at Baltimore, Randy Johnson strikes out 15 giving him a two game total of 33 K’s – a new ML record. In game two, Ken Cloude earns his first ML victory in front of 125 family and friends.
- 2001 – Freddy Garcia picks up his 40th career victory, going 8.0 innings at Boston. He is the fastest Mariner hurler to 40 wins (79 games).
- 2005 – Felix Hernandez becomes the first teenager to strike out at least 10 batters since Dwight ‘Doc’ Gooden accomplished the feat with the Mets in May of 1984. The 18-year old Mariner rookie righty K’s 11 batters as the Mariners maul the Royals, 11-3.
- 2011 – Mike Carp and Casper Wells hit back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the 8th inning to erase a 5-4 deficit in the Mariners 6-5 win over the Blue Jays. Carp hit 2 home runs to extend his hitting streak to 15 games. Seattle used 8 rookies, the most pre-September call-ups since the inaugural season in 1977.