Mariners News: LHP James Paxton Lands on 15-Day DL


The Seattle Mariners placed James Paxton on the 15-day disabled list on Friday afternoon due to a strained tendon in his left middle finger. The imposing southpaw was in obvious discomfort before being forced from last night’s game with what was initially believed to be a blister.

Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times notes that Lloyd McClendon has given no timetable for Paxton’s return. Paxman is 3-3 this season with a 3.70 ERA across 10 outings. Prior to last night’s debacle, Paxton was in a great rhythm, going 3-1 with a 1.63 ERA over his last 38.1 innings pitched.

Injuries are becoming a disturbing trend for the Ladner, BC native. Paxton missed 102 games last season as he dealt with a strained lat muscle in his back. I do not anticipate him missing that much time with his current ailment, but the M’s have to be concerned with his durability. There are a lot of moving pieces in his delivery, and sometimes that can lead to injuries. One thing we know for sure, the M’s are at their best with Pax pitching every 5 days.

The Mariners have announced that right-handed reliever Dominic Leone has been recalled from Tacoma to take Paxton’s spot on the 25-man roster. Leone will fill the void in the Seattle’s bullpen left by Danny Farquhar when he was demoted on Monday to make room for Austin Jackson. Leone is 0-3 with a 5.40 ERA through 8 appearances with the M’s in 2015.

The loss of James Paxton could be devastating. The Mariners have looked like a much improved team over the last 3 weeks, and the performance of their starting pitching has been the catalyst. Hisashi Iwakuma is already on the shelf, and now with Paxton joining him, Seattle will be without 2 of their top 3 starters for the foreseeable future. This is a frightening position to be in for a club that relies so heavily on their pitching.

McClendon admitted the club will have to call up a pitcher from Tacoma to make a spot start on Tuesday against the New York Yankees. I believe the 2 most logical candidates are Justin Germano and Mike Montgomery.

Feb 26, 2015; Peoria, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher Justin Germano poses for a portrait during photo day at Peoria Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Germano has spent parts of 9 seasons in the bigs with 7 different teams. His 10-30 career record and 5.40 ERA leave plenty to be desired, but he has been lights out in Tacoma this season. The 32-year-old right-hander is 3-2 with a 3.02 ERA in 2015. Germano has a 5.13 strikeout to walk ratio, and has allowed just 0.888 walks/hits per inning. He may not be the flashiest of names, but Justin Germano could be a useful arm in the Mariners’ starting rotation.

Mike Montgomery was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays at the end of spring training in exchange for Erasmo Ramirez. The former top prospect has been a pleasant surprise this season with the Rainiers. Montgomery is 4-3 with a 3.74 ERA through 9 starts in the Pacific Coast League. He has registered a 3.13 strikeout to walk ratio, and allowed 1.170 walks/hits per inning. The 25-year-old southpaw has never appeared in a Major League game.

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Personally, I would prefer to see Justin Germano be given the first shot to fill Paxton’s shoes. Germano is a known commodity, and his performance has been more impressive this season. I think Montgomery is an option to take Taijuan Walker’s spot if the M’s decide to send him down in the coming weeks. I also believe Germano gives the M’s rotation better balance. The Mariners already have 2 left-handers (J.A. Happ and Roenis Elias) in their starting 5, and adding a 3rd is not ideal.

The Mariners will still be in good shape if they can get James Paxton back on or around June 15. However, if his recovery takes longer than expected, Jack Zduriencik will be forced to make some phone calls he probably does not want to make. I am still holding out hope that Iwakuma and Paxton will be back in the rotation within the next month.

Next: Mariners Game Recap: Indians Take Opener 5-3

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