Felix Hernandez

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Mariners place James Paxton on 10-day disabled list with left pectoral strain

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The Mariners rolled into a wild card spot on Wednesday, but that doesn’t mean they’re postseason-ready. Case in point: left-handed ace James Paxton was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Friday after sustaining a strained left pectoral muscle during Thursday’s start against the Angels. With seven weeks remaining in the regular season, a two-way tie for the second wild card and at least four more American League teams on the verge of playoff contention, this isn’t the moment you want to see your rotation begin to weaken.

MLB.com’s Greg Johns reports that Paxton is expected to be sidelined for up to three weeks, by which point the makeup of the AL wild card standings could look very different. The southpaw is serving his second stint on the 10-day DL after sustaining a forearm strain earlier in the season, and worked up to an impressive 2.78 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 following a relatively quick recovery period. No long-term replacement for Paxton has been announced, but right-hander Andrew Moore was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma in a corresponding move and will pitch out of the bullpen until the Mariners need a spot starter on Tuesday.

Add Paxton’s pectoral strain to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis, Hisashi Iwakuma‘s shoulder inflammation and Drew Smyly‘s Tommy John surgery, and it’s difficult to picture a playoff scenario where the Mariners take the rest of the American League by storm — or at all. They’ve utilized 34 different pitchers this season, the most in Major League Baseball, and will have to get creative in order to remain competitive this fall. Adding another starting pitcher via trade isn’t necessarily out of the question, but finding an affordable starter of Paxton’s caliber will be next-to-impossible.

James Paxton strains his pectoral muscle

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Bad news for the Mariners last night as James Paxton was lifted from his start against the Angels due to a left pectoral strain.

Paxton had been pitching well, having allowed three runs and working in the seventh inning when he was seen rubbing his upper left chest before being taken out. He’ll have an MRI today and the Mariners will know more about his condition.

Paxton has been the ace for Seattle this year, picking up the slack in a rotation that has seen Felix Hernandez go down to multiple injuries. Paxton is 12-3 this year with a 2.78 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 138/33 in 119.2 innings across 20 starts. The Mariners are 59-57 and stand in a tie with the Tampa Bay Rays for the second Wild Card.

Felix Hernandez to miss 3-4 weeks with shoulder bursitis

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Felix Hernandez missed all of May and most of June with bursitis in his shoulder. He’s about to miss another month or so for the same thing: the Mariners just announced that Hernandez was diagnosed with right shoulder bursitis once again and they say he’ll miss 3-4 weeks.

Hernandez was placed on the disabled list on August 5, retroactive to August 1 after experiencing discomfort in his biceps in a July 31 start at Texas. He’s 5-4 with a 4.28 ERA this season in 13 starts. While he has been surpassed as the M’s ace by James Paxton, his loss will still be felt as Seattle fights for a Wild Card slot.

In his absence the rotation will consist of Paxton, Marco Gonzales, Erasmo Ramirez, Ariel Miranda and Yovani Gallardo.