The Seattle Mariners, who have been surging up the AL wild card standings the last few weeks, will be without their best starting pitcher for at least three weeks.

Friday afternoon the club announced left-hander James Paxton has been placed on the 10-day DL with a strained pectoral. He left Thursday’s start with the injury.

Paxton is, unfortunately, no stranger to the disabled list. He missed time with a forearm strain earlier this season, and over the years he’s dealt with various finger, elbow, and lat injuries. Only twice since being drafted in 2010 has Paxton thrown more than 130 innings in a season.

When healthy this year, the 28-year-old southpaw who goes by “Big Maple” has thrown 119 2/3 innings with a 2.78 ERA and 138 innings. Paxton has been, quite simply, one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball this season, at least when he’s been healthy enough to pitch.

For the Mariners, the pitching injuries just continue to pile up. The club has been ravaged by the injury bug this year. Here is a partial recap of their current pitching injuries:

  • Felix Hernandez: Out 3-4 weeks with shoulder bursitis.
  • Hisashi Iwakuma: Out since May 3 with shoulder inflammation but has recently started throwing.
  • James Paxton: Out at least three weeks with a pec strain.
  • David Phelps: Out three weeks with an elbow impingement.
  • Drew Smyly: Out for the season with Tommy John surgery.

Four starting pitchers and arguably their top setup man. The Mariners have used an MLB-high 15 different pitchers starting pitchers this season — only two other teams (Reds and Twins) have used more than 12 pitchers this year — and it’s easy to understand why given their injuries.

And yet, the Mariners came into Friday tied with the Rays for the second wild-card spot. Seattle has the AL’s best record since the All-Star break at 16-10. Staying in the race without Paxton — and all those other pitchers — will be awfully tough.


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