The hits keep coming in the Mariners’ rotation.
Left-handed pitcher James Paxton was placed on the 10-day disabled list because of a strained forearm muscle prior to Friday’s series opener against Texas at Safeco Field. The move is retroactive to May 3.
"It’s a grade 1 forearm strain," general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "There is no sign of anything else. The ligament is fine. There is no tear. But we are going to be as cautious here as we have to be.
"He will miss at least two starts and, we think in all likelihood, that’s what it will be: two missed starts."
Paxton joins two other starting pitchers on the disabled list: right-hander Felix Hernandez is on the 10-day lost because of bursitis in his shoulder, and lefty Drew Smyly is on the 60-day list because of a flexor strain in his elbow.
"It sucks," Paxton said. "Not what I wanted to happen, obviously. Luckily, it’s a minor thing. It’s not going to be a long stint here. I’m hoping that it’s just going to be a couple of starts. Maybe three at the most that I’ll miss. Then I’ll be back."
Dipoto said veteran right-hander Christian Bergman will be recalled this weekend from Triple-A Tacoma. Either Bergman or lefty Dillon Overton will start Sunday in Paxton’s place against the Rangers.
The Mariners also optioned outfielder Boog Powell to prior to Friday’s game. To replace Paxton and Powell on the 25-man active roster, the Mariners recalled infielder Mike Freeman and reliever Evan Marshall from the Rainiers.
Paxton emerged this season as a dominant starter at 3-0 with a 1.43 ERA in six outings. He said he first "felt a little something" during his April 26 start in Detroit but didn’t become concern until the soreness escalated Tuesday against the Angels.
"In Detroit," he said, "we had a long inning of hitting. I went out and think I tried to amp up too quickly. I felt a little something, but I was fine. I went on pitching. Obviously, everything worked out fine in that game."
Paxton pitched seven scoreless innings and struck out nine in an 8-0 victory over the Tigers.
"It was a little bit sore (afterward)," he said, "but my throwing was fine throughout the week. I thought I was OK. Then in the LA game, it just got tighter and tighter as the game went on. Once I came out of the game, it was pretty sore."
Plans call for Paxton to refrain from throwing for five days to allow the soreness to dissipate. He is eligible to return May 12 from the disabled list but likely won’t pitch until a seven-game homestand that begins May 15.
Dipoto did have some positive news regarding the rotation.
Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma should is expected to make his next scheduled start after being hit on the left knee by a line drive in Wednesday’s victory over the Mariners.
"He’s got a bruise on what is called the fatty pad of his knee," Dipoto said. "I think he felt like he was fine to just keep pitching. But we’ll approach it cautiously. The ball hit him pretty good. He is on track to make his next start."
Dipoto also said Hernandez should begin a throwing program within the next few days after leaving an April 25 start in Detroit because of bursitis in his shoulder.
Hernandez could be ready to rejoin the rotation by mid-May.
"Felix is doing well," Dipoto said. "He’ll be into a throwing program within the next few days. Fingers crossed, we’re probably closer to the optimistic three weeks (of recovery) rather the four-week mark."
Dipoto said Smyly is pain-free in his recovery but that no decision regarding a pitching program will be made until the end of the month. If all goes well, Smyly could rejoin the rotation in late June.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners