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.