ANAHEIM -- James Paxton knew as soon as he took the mound for his pregame bullpen work on Thursday that something wasn't quite right. His lower back was stiff and his normal fastball wasn't popping as he struggled to get extension on his delivery.Turns out Paxton was right. The Mariners
ANAHEIM -- James Paxton knew as soon as he took the mound for his pregame bullpen work on Thursday that something wasn't quite right. His lower back was stiff and his normal fastball wasn't popping as he struggled to get extension on his delivery.
Turns out Paxton was right. The Mariners placed the left-hander on the 10-day disabled list with lower back inflammation on Friday.
Hoping to work through the issue once the adrenaline kicked in, the big lefty gave it a go. But that effort was short-lived as Paxton was pulled from Thursday's 11-2 loss to the Angels after just 17 pitches following three runs on three quick hits, including two home runs.
"I felt it a little last game, but it was nothing that was stopping me from getting through my pitches," Paxton said. "But I went out there tonight and tried to let it rip and it wouldn't go. I wasn't getting extension, there was no life on the ball and it was just kind of floating in there. [Pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr.] said he could tell something wasn't right."
The Mariners don't believe Paxton's issue is anything serious and it helps that the All-Star break is next week. That means they can put him on the 10-day disabled list in order to add pitching help for this weekend's series in Colorado and bring him back potentially for the second series after the break against the Giants.
"Obviously going into Colorado for the weekend series we want to make sure we have enough pitching to get through that," manager Scott Servais said after using five relievers and utility man Andrew Romine to soak up the final 7 1/3 innings. "We'll make a few roster moves here and be ready to go when we get to Colorado tomorrow."
Paxton has dealt with numerous injury issues over his career, but the 29-year-old has never had a back problem. He came into the game with an 8-3 record and 3.49 ERA in 19 starts and hadn't missed a turn while racking up a team-high 118 2/3 innings. His ERA jumped to 3.70 in his final outing before the All-Star break.
Chasen Bradford replaced Paxton and got the final out of the inning after Paxton had given up a pair of home runs -- a leadoff shot by rookie David Fletcher and then Jose Pujols' blast after Michael Trout's one-out single.
"You could tell right from the get-go he was not right tonight," Servais said. "He wanted to give it a go and try to battle through it, hoping it would loosen up. But quickly you could see it was not typical James Paxton. So we thought it best to get him out of the ballgame."
Paxton was checked out by the Angels doctors and given some muscle relaxers, but the Mariners believe he'll be back quickly after the break.
"He'll have some time to calm it down and recoup and I fully expect him to come out of the break and be ready to go," Servais said. "It was just one of those freak things that happen. No structural damage, just a muscle spasm in the low back and he should be fine going forward."
Paxton was regarded as a strong All-Star candidate when he got off to a 6-1 start with a 3.02 ERA in his first 14 starts and threw a no-hitter in Toronto in May, but he's gone 2-2 with a 5.70 ERA over his last five starts.
Paxton is already closing in on his career high for innings and he was on pace for more than 200 for the season. He threw 136 innings last year for Seattle, the most of his career despite two stints on the disabled list.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.