Mariners' James Paxton Recommended for Tommy John Surgery After Forearm Injury

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IIApril 8, 2021

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton throws to a Chicago White Sox batter during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Seattle Mariners starter James Paxton could be done for the season.

MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Thursday that Tommy John surgery "has been recommended" for the 32-year-old, who was moved to the 10-day injured list with a forearm injury on Wednesday. 

Paxton threw 24 pitches in his first start of the year, a Tuesday loss to the Chicago White Sox.

According to an Associated Press (h/t ESPN) report from Wednesday, Paxton—as well as starting left fielder Jake Fraley, who was moved to the injured list with a hamstring strain—had MRIs done on Wednesday. 

"Leaving last night he was a little bit more optimistic that it wasn't anything too serious. I know he woke up today and it's stiff as expected," Seattle manager Scott Servais said of Paxton. "Really, it's hard to speculate until you know exactly what's going on there and the only way you're going to know is you get the reading on the MRI." 

Paxton made five starts for the New York Yankees in 2020, posting a career-worst 6.64 ERA through 20.1 innings, though his outings were bookended by injuries. He joined the team in July after having spinal surgery in February 2020, but he suffered a low-grade forearm flexor strain and did not play after Aug. 20.

Prior to his injury woes, he went 15-6 through 29 starts with a 3.82 ERA for the Yankees in 2019. 

He signed with the Mariners on a one-year, $8.5 million deal this offseason, returning to the team that drafted him. Servais was hopeful that the team's fourth-round pick from 2010 would have another strong season in his return to the team where spent the first six years of his career.

"This season, where we're at, where Pax is that, I think it's a great fit," Servais said in February. "He's got a chance to kind of reestablish himself as maybe one of the top 10 starters in our league. He's certainly got the stuff to do that and now we've got to keep him healthy and allow him to do it."

The Mariners recalled righthander Ljay Newsome from their alternate training site, while Nick Margevicius will slot into the starting lineup, at least temporarily.