James Paxton, Jake Fraley headed for MRIs

James paxton He returned to the Mariners’ rotation last night after two years in the Bronx, but his start was interrupted by another forearm injury as he exited after just 1 1/3 inning. Gardener Jake fraleyMeanwhile, he left the game with what the team later announced as a hamstring strain after making a dive catch in left field. Both players will have an MRI this morning, coach Scott Servais told reporters after the game (via Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish).

Paxton’s 2020 season with the Yankees was interrupted by a forearm strain, so it is obviously a concerning development for him to suffer this type of injury, particularly early in the season. The southpaw told Divish and others that the pain in his arm is not at the same level as when he suffered that injury last summer.

The Mariners brought Paxton back to the organization with a one-year, $ 8.5MM free agent contract over the winter. The 32-year-old had the interest of various teams, unsurprisingly based on his track record of success, but apparently preferred to return to Seattle. Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto noted at the time of signing that Paxton had been strong in training for MLB teams and gave the club something of a “local discount.”

The meeting seemed to be going well in Spring Training, where Paxton struck out half of the 34 batters he faced and allowed just one run during the Cactus League game. For the moment, he took an optimistic tone that the current problem could be muscular in nature and something he can quickly return to.

As for Fraley, the 25-year-old is off to an unusual start to his 2021 season. He is just 1-for-10 in five games, but has attracted eight walks and been hit by a pitch, leading to a odd .100 / .500 / .200 batting line in his first 19 plate appearances. Acquired from the Rays as part of the Mike zunino Trade, Fraley hasn’t hit much in two previous stints with the Mariners in 2019-20, but he only scored 70 plate appearances during that time. He’s a .286 / .362 / .480 career hitter in the minors, including a .276 / .333 / .553 in 38 Triple-A games.

At the moment, though, it looks like a season in IL could be on the horizon, which will get the baseball world to watch closely. The simplest move for Ms would be to simply remember Bishop of Braden from his alternate site, since he’s already on the 40-man roster, but Seattle also has top prospect Jarred Kelenic on the cusp of his first major league promotion.

Kelenic’s tenure status came into the national spotlight when now-former CEO Kevin Mather blatantly indicated in a question-and-answer session with the Bellevue Rotary Club that Kelenic, 21, had turned down an offer of extension and would not be called up to the majors. until mid-April (the general point at which the Mariners would gain an additional year of control over Kelenic). Kelenic missed some time in spring training with a minor knee injury, but returned to the lineup and was immediately 3-for-6 with a double and a home run in two games before being reassigned to minor league camp, for what the injury seems to be a problem. behind him.

It still seems more likely that the Mariners will turn to Bishop for now, as calling Kelenic now would still give him enough time to rack up a full year of major league service in 2021. That would no longer be the case as soon as next time. time. weekend, however.

Coming back to the pitching staff, the Mariners were already using a six-man rotation, so it’s likely they’ll just shorten to five starters for now and bring in an extra reliever. The bullpen had to cover 7 2/3 innings last night and took a beating at the hands of the White Sox in the process, so Seattle would probably prefer to have a fresh arm in the relief mix anyway.

It’s at least worth noting that, as with the Fraley / Kelenic situation, the Mariners have a highly regarded pitching prospect that is close to being ready for MLB: the 2018 first round. Logan gilbert. While this comment didn’t get as much attention as Kelenic’s reveal, Mather indicated in that same interview that he expected Gilbert to pitch in the majors in mid-April (obviously an allusion to his serving time). Gilbert, however, only pitched a couple of innings in spring training before being reassigned to minor league camp, so he may not yet be prepared to the point where it is an option, even in the case of for Paxton to be postponed for a notable period of time. . If the Mariners want to stick with a six-man rotation and Paxton misses some time, they could give some starts to Ljay newsome I Nick margevicius. However, before long, it seems likely that Gilbert will emerge as an option at the major league level.

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