BY Art Thiel 12:03AM 04/07/2021

Thiel: In first start, M’s Paxton injures forearm

In the second inning of the first start in his return to Seattle, James Paxton had to come out after a forearm strain, making a 10-4 loss to the White Sox far worse.

James Paxton had to leave his first start of the season in the second inning with a forearm strain. / Alan Chitlik, Sportspress Northwest

First outing of the season? In the second inning? Are you kidding?

The bad-health saga of James Paxton continues.

Returning to the Mariners after a two-year stint with the Yankees shortened by injury, Paxton was forced out of Tuesday night’s 10-4 home loss to the Chicago White Sox by a left forearm strain. Manager Scott Servais said after the game that Paxton would have an MRI scan Wednesday morning to determine the severity.

“It’s so disappointing,” Servais said. “I know for Pax, and for all of us. We were really looking forward to getting him back and being a very good part of our rotation.”

Wednesday update: Paxton was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left forearm strain. Ljay Newsome, 24, was called up from the alternate site in Tacoma.

Paxton had a 1-2-3 first inning and faced two batters in the second, then was removed after 24 pitches, including 15 strikes. He was in obvious discomfort over his last several pitches, wandering off the mound and attempting to stretch the forearm by hooking his thumb into his belt.

“Having seen him so much over the years, you know right away,” Servais said. “You know something’s not right. He felt something in his forearm and at that point, the night is over. Just shut it down and see what the doctors have to say.”

After impressing GM Jerry Dipoto in off-season workouts, Paxton, 32, signed this spring a one-year, free-agent contract for $8.5 million to rejoin the team that drafted him out of Ladner, B.C., and developed him into a solid big-league pitcher.

The Mariners were careful with him in spring training, giving him just two regular Cactus League starts. In 8.1 innings, he had 17 strikeouts, proving the velocity drop he had as a result of numerous injuries last season was no longer an issue.

Paxton was part of Dipoto’s step-back plan after the 2018 season that included trading expensive veterans for prospects. He was dealt to the Yankees for three prospects, including pitcher Justus Sheffield, now a rotation regular.

His first year in New York was a success, making a career-high 29 starts with a 15-6 record and 3.82 ERA. But back surgery in February delayed his 2020 return until mid-season.

In five starts, Paxton struggled with a 6.64 ERA, 26 strikeouts and seven walks in 20.1 innings before going down with a flexor tendon injury in the forearm. He said after the injury that the forearm workload developed because his legs weren’t strong enough following the back surgery.

By December, he was throwing for scouts in workouts and hitting 94 mph with his fastball. The Mariners took a chance on his health, and all signs in spring were good, although he was pushed back from the rotation’s No. 2 spot to fifth to provide more rest.

In a video conference before the game Monday, he said, “I’m really excited. I can’t wait to get out there tomorrow night.”

Additionally, LF Jake Fraley had to leave the game in the fifth inning with a left hamstring strain after making a sliding catch a ball sinking in front of him. Servais said Fraley will have an MRI as well. The Mariners will call up two players from the alternate training site in Tacoma for the 1:10 p.m. Wednesday against the White Sox.

Wednesday update: Fraley was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain. OF Braden Bishop, 27, was called up from the alternate site.

Speaking to reporters via video conference, Paxton said, “It just got worse and worse, and it got to a point where I wasn’t able to throw pitches.The flexor strain before, there was a lot more pain than there is right now.

“So I’m feeling pretty optimistic that this could be a pretty quick thing. Obviously, I don’t know much right now. We’re getting some imaging done, and we’ll know more in the coming days.”


Support SportspressNW

The idea is simple: Want to help? Please, and thank you. Don’t want to help? Please and thank you for continuing to read. Our content is free to all. No paywalls. No tricks. See the ways you can support SportspressNW.


  • jafabian

    I’m not too worried about the Mighty Thor AKA Jake Fraley but Paxton is another thing. Assuming it’s related to the same injury from last season he could be out for the year or at least for an extended period of time. This is when the six man rotation benefits the club.

  • Husky73

    If it wasn’t for bad luck, the M’s wouldn’t have no luck at all.

    • Elizabeth Yates

      Amara this-past month I collected $19562 thru working on pc at home in my spare time..(s767) I figured out to do it by spending some hours in whole day consistently computer.(s767) it’s very nice and any of you definetly can get this. >>>

    • art thiel

      You can do better than that. There must be an old rock lyric somewhere . . .

  • Kevin Lynch

    The M’s have bet a lot on the ‘come’ and the ‘comeback’. Young players springing from potential to powerful. Recently injured players magically regaining top form. Jerry has pushed a great many chips into the center of the table to play this hand. It’s early, but time will tell the story.

    • art thiel

      That scenario is typical for most non-contending teams. Based on his offseason workouts and ST, Paxton seemed a reasonable risk for a year. Really too bad for him.

      • Kevin Lynch

        Yes, it’s unfortunate. I’m sure he worked hard to get back in shape. But doubly unfortunate for the team that many millions are guaranteed and this occurred in the second inning of the first start. There had been multiple injuries that two different teams had to deal with over the last several years. That wound up being a lot of absorbed downtime, with pay. I’m just saying the signing was a huge risk when paying that much money and to base it on a few workouts seems either somewhat frivolous or desperate.

  • 2nd place is 1st loser

    This is unfortunate for Paxton, but not surprising for this franchise. Of course they had no crystal ball predicting that Paxton would blow out his elbow. “again” But one has to ask, why would the Yankees jettison Paxton if they deemed him healthy enough to contribute to the team this year? They didn’t, but here comes Jerry to swoop into resign your tired, poor, your huddled Tommy John survivors yearning to pitch once again. Kicking the tires on a pitcher that has been prone to having injury after injury and bringing him back. Why not go out and shop the FA market. Not part of the plan yet I would assume.

    On another note, not a peep from the crystal palace of Stanton & Co regarding the their recent debacle… “Mather.” Guess things blew over and it’s right back to the good ol days.

    At least they’re consistent. Go M’s

    • art thiel

      He was hurt in his contract year with the Yankees. They had better options. They always do. Paxton was a one-season placeholder for Logan Gilbert, but it only worked for five outs.

  • Husky73

    As I was watching last night’s debacle, I was reminded of a comment made by Tony Kornheiser. He was recalling the inaugural game at Camden Yards 29 years ago. That game took two hours and two minutes. Last night’s game took 3:45. Watching the Mariners is tough enough. Watching Paxton get hurt and the game drag on was cruel.

    • art thiel

      Walks and strikeouts take time. You need to refine your appreciation of the darker baseball arts.

      • Husky73

        The M’s struck out 30 times in the first two White Sox games.

        • Angela Lucero

          Get $193 per h from Google!…~a838x~ Yes this can be best since I simply got my initial payroll check of $24413 and this was just of one week…I am aslo purchased my Mclaren P1 right after this payment…~a838x~ it is really best job I have even had and you will not for~give yourself if you not check it >>>> !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • DB


  • Alan Harrison

    Lucy pulls the football away once again. This “hope” thing is treacherous.

    Just a quandary: in 10 days, Kelenic can be brought up. Lewis might be well by then. So might Fraley, who deserves to be kept after a nice penchant to be on-base, even by the walk. Send down Haggerty? Marmolejos? Trammell? Bishop (of course). Bring up Gilbert in 10 days (if Paxton goes on the 60-day)? And while we’re at it, bring up Raleigh for Torrens somehow, so that Gilbert feels more comfortable from day one?

    Always guessing. This time, she’ll let us kick the football, for sure.

    Good grief.

    • art thiel

      Paxton’s injury is a sad deal for all parties. As for the rest, take a hard look at the calendar, and I believe it’s still the first week of April.

  • GuyBird

    And to add insult to injury, Taijuan Walker was dealing for the Mets today. 6 IP, 2 ER, and hitting 97.5 on the radar gun many times. And according to Mather, he was begging to be signed by the M’s. It was a mistake not to sign him in the first place, and the mistake was exacerbated by Mather’s ridiculous intentional attempt to embarrass him.

    • art thiel

      Thanks for the Walker update, The bad gets worse.