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The starting pitching depth that was considered a strength for the Mariners coming into the season is now non-existent.

Manager Lloyd McClendon announced before Friday’s game that left-hander James Paxton was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained tendon in his middle finger. He met with Dr. Edward Khalfayan on Friday morning.

“I went and saw the doctor today,” he said. “We are waiting for him to get here and we are going to go over it and make a plan going forward. Right now I don’t know anything more than I did last night. Hopefully I’ll know more soon.”

Paxton will meet with Khalfayan and a hand specialist to determine a plan going forward.

He suffered the injury in the fifth inning of  Thursday night’s 5-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians. This is a serious blow to the Mariners’ rotation that is already without Hisashi Iwakuma.

“It was after a pitch to (Brandon) Moss – a fastball – and my middle finger got tight between my second and third knuckle, kind of a full sensation,” Paxton said. “I tried to throw the next pitch and something didn’t feel right and that’s when they came and got me.”

Asked if there was a timetable on Paxton’s absence or his return, McClendon replied: “As of right now, no.”

It’s not an ideal scenario for the Mariners with Iwakuma already on the disabled list with a strained lat and not expected to return until July.

“It’s a tough loss,” McClendon said. “To think that we’ve lost our No. 2 and No. 3 starters, that’s tough. But in this game, nobody feels sorry for you. You have to make the adjustments. You have to take the stand: “Next man up. Let’s go.”

It will likely be next “men” up. Dominic Leone was recalled from Class AAA Tacoma, but that is likely a temporary move.  With only one off day – June 8 – in the next three weeks, the odds of a bullpen start seem minimal. The team will likely bring up a starter for Tuesday’s start against the Yankees.

By all indications it will be lefty Mike Montgomery getting the call-up. The Mariners wouldn’t have to make a 40-man roster move to bring him up.  Montgomery, who was acquired in spring training in a trade for Erasmo Ramirez, started on Tuesday for the Rainiers in Omaha, giving up two runs on six hits in six innings for work with seven strikeouts and one walk. He would be working on six days rest. In nine starts, he’s posted a 4-3 record with a 3.74 ERA. He’s struck out 47 batters and walked 15 in 53 innings pitched. He’s never pitched in a big league game.

*** The team also made another minor roster move. Lefty Joe Beimel has been placed on the restricted list so he can attend his son’s high school graduation. Lucas Luetge is at Safeco Field and will take his spot. Beimel is supposed to be back for Saturday’s game.

*** Robinson Cano is out of the lineup for the second straight day. He’s still battling the effects of the flu. He did not participate in the team’s pregame infield session.



Here’s my weekly spot with Ian Furness and Jason Puckett. We talked about roster moves, Carson Smith as a closer and getting older.

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 Game notes