James Paxton returned to the Mariners’ rotation last night after two years in the Bronx, but his start was cut short by another forearm injury, as he exited after just 1 1/3 innings. Outfielder Jake Fraley, meanwhile, left the game with what the team later announced as a hamstring strain after making a diving catch in left field. Both players will undergo an MRI Wednesday morning, manager Scott Servais told reporters after the game (via Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times).
Paxton’s 2020 season with the Yankees was cut short by a forearm strain, so it’s obviously a concerning development for him to suffer this type of injury — particularly so early in the season. The lefty did tell Divish and others that the pain he’s feeling in his arm isn’t at the same level as it was when he sustained that injury last summer.
The Mariners brought Paxton back to the organization on a one-year, $8.5M free-agent deal over the winter. The 32-year-old had interest from several teams, as one would expect based on his track record of success, but he seemingly preferred to return to Seattle. Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto noted at the time of the signing that Paxton had been sharp in workouts for MLB teams and gave the club something of a “hometown discount.”
The reunion looked to be going well in spring training, where Paxton struck out half of the 34 batters he faced and allowed just one run during Cactus League play. For the time being, he struck an optimistic tone that the current issue could be muscular in nature and something from which he can quickly return.