Paxton, Fraley to IL; 'fingers crossed' on MRI

White exits finale with left quad strain, will get a couple days' rest

April 8th, 2021

SEATTLE -- The Mariners began their roster shuffling in the wake of the injuries to starting pitcher (strained left forearm) and left fielder (strained left hamstring), who were both placed on the 10-day injured list ahead of Wednesday’s 8-4 win over the White Sox.

During Wednesday's game, Evan White was sent to the trainer’s room after suffering a left quad strain while legging out a fielder’s choice in the third inning. White remained in the game through the fourth, then he was replaced by José Marmolejos at first base to start the top of the fifth. Because the Mariners have a day game in Minnesota on Thursday and are off on Friday, the club will utilize the next two days to allow White to heal and assess his status.

Right-hander Ljay Newsome and outfielder Braden Bishop were recalled from the alternate training site to take Paxton and Fraley's roster spots, and they will each be leaned on for the foreseeable future.

Paxton and Fraley each underwent MRIs early Wednesday, and Mariners manager Scott Servais didn’t have an update on either by the time the team left for their charter. Paxton’s forearm and elbow were stiff when he awoke on Wednesday, Servais said.

“It's hard to speculate until you know exactly what's going on there, and the only way you're going to know is by getting the reading on the MRI,” Servais said. “Pax, he's been through a lot in his career, there's been a lot of different injuries that he has dealt with. We’ll just try to keep our fingers crossed.”

will slot into Paxton’s spot in the rotation for at least the next turn through, which would line up for Tuesday in Baltimore. And Newsome will take Margevicius’ spot as the long reliever, though he’s stretched out and could make a start in a pinch. Newsome debuted in 2020 and pitched in five games, including four starts, compiling a 5.17 ERA with nine strikeouts, one walk, four homers and a 1.34 WHIP in 15 2/3 innings.

Bishop is an above-average defender but has struggled with his bat since breaking into the Majors in 2019, when his season was cut short due to a lacerated spleen. Over 94 plate appearances from ’19-20, he’s hit .128/.185/.151. The Mariners could get creative with their outfield alignment, given the versatility of utility man Sam Haggerty and Dylan Moore, who began the season as the starting second baseman but was the utility man the past two years.

Beyond Newsome, the Mariners don’t have another starter stretched out on the 40-man roster, meaning that if another arm goes down, they’d have to dip into their Minor League depth for a pitcher with experience. That’s the same case for the outfield, as Bishop was the last available outfielder on the 40-man.

Speaking of, the roster vacancies from Tuesday night -- or any in the immediate future -- won’t impact the plans for top prospects Jarred Kelenic and Logan Gilbert, both of whom the Mariners have been adamant about accumulating more Minor League development. Servais reiterated that stance on Wednesday.

“The plan with those players, it's about their development and making sure that they're ready when they get here,” Servais said. “So again, you don't want to just all of a sudden derail everything in something you firmly believe in, because now there's a roster spot open or you need to fill it or whatnot. I don't think that's good development strategy at all. So we’ll stick with the plan there, and like I said, we'll give guys opportunities that aren’t getting it right now, and hopefully they take and run with it.”