James Paxton exits start with lower back stiffness

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Mariners lefty James Paxton lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Thursday night’s start against the Angels before exiting the field with a trainer. Paxton had surrendered a solo home run to David Fletcher and a two-run homer to Albert Pujols.

Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports that Paxton exited with lower back stiffness. That’s good news compared to possible alternatives, which might have involved Paxton’s elbow or shoulder. The Mariners should pass along an update on Paxton’s status during the game or shortly following the conclusion.

Paxton, 29, has been solid for the Mariners this year, entering Thursday’s start 8-3 with a 3.49 ERA and a 154/33 K/BB ratio in 118 2/3 innings. Paxton also finished baseball’s most recent no-hitter, doing so on May 8 against the Blue Jays. As you can imagine, losing Paxton for any amount of time is a big deal for the Mariners, who are 58-35 and only three games behind the first-place Astros in the AL West.