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James Paxton exits in first inning after taking comebacker off of pitching arm

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Mariners starter James Paxton was forced out of Tuesday night’s start against the Athletics after being hit by a Jed Lowrie line drive on his pitching arm. Paxton gave up a leadoff home run to Marcus Semien and struck out Matt Chapman prior to Lowrie’s at-bat.

Félix Hernández, recently demoted to the bullpen, relieved Paxton, walking Khris Davis before inducing an inning-ending ground ball double play from Matt Olson.

The Mariners should pass along an update on Paxton’s status shortly. The left-hander entered Tuesday’s start 10-5 with a 3.63 ERA and a 175/37 K/BB ratio in 139 innings. The third-place Mariners are very much in the hunt for the AL West title, trailing the Astros by only 4.5 games. Losing Paxton, even if only for a start or two, would be a huge blow.

Update (11:48 PM ET): Paxton has a left forearm contusion and is considered day-to-day.

Report: Rangers sign Jeff Mathis to two-year deal

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The Rangers have signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year contract, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The deal is pending a physical.

Mathis turns 36 years old at the end of March and has a career .564 OPS across 14 seasons, but he is well-regarded for his defense and ability to handle a pitching staff.

The arrival of Mathis could mean the Rangers are moving on from Robinson Chirinos behind the plate, as he is now a free agent. The Rangers could go after another catcher to complement Mathis or just have Isiah Kiner-Falefa back up Mathis. Though Kiner-Falefa mostly played elsewhere, including three spots across the infield, he did rack up over 300 defensive innings behind the plate in 2018.