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Mariners place Paxton on DL with back injury

Club recalls relievers Lawrence, Morin; Rumbelow, Beckham optioned to Triple-A
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

DENVER -- Mariners left-hander James Paxton was placed on the 10-day disabled list Friday with inflammation in his lower back, as the club made a flurry of roster moves to bolster its pitching heading into a three-game series against the Rockies at Coors Field to close out the first half.

But manager Scott Servais expects Paxton back as soon as he's eligible to return, and tentatively has him slated to pitch the fourth game after next week's All-Star break.

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DENVER -- Mariners left-hander James Paxton was placed on the 10-day disabled list Friday with inflammation in his lower back, as the club made a flurry of roster moves to bolster its pitching heading into a three-game series against the Rockies at Coors Field to close out the first half.

But manager Scott Servais expects Paxton back as soon as he's eligible to return, and tentatively has him slated to pitch the fourth game after next week's All-Star break.

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The early pitching plan after the break has Wade LeBlanc, Felix Hernandez and Marco Gonzales pitching on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively, against the White Sox, with Paxton pitching Tuesday against the Giants and Mike Leake closing out that Interleague set Wednesday at Safeco Field.

The Mariners will stick with that five-man rotation through July and Servais was reluctant to discuss whether they might add another starter to the mix in August to help reduce the workloads.

"We've talked a lot about it," he said. "Is it mapped out? No. Things change very quickly, as we saw last night in the first inning of that game. Sometimes you get too far down the road. I've never been in a season where the perfect plan works perfectly. It doesn't happen. You have to be willing to adjust and line up as many options and have as much depth as you can within your organization."

Paxton was pulled from Thursday's 11-2 loss to the Angels in Anaheim after giving up three runs on two home runs in his first 17 pitches.

Video: SEA@LAA: Paxton exits in 1st with back stiffness

As expected, the Mariners recalled right-hander Christian Bergman from Triple-A Tacoma to make Friday's spot start against the Rockies in place of Hernandez, who also was placed on the 10-day DL earlier in the week with a stiff lower back.

After the bullpen needed to pick up the final 7 1/3 innings following Paxton's early exit Thursday, the club also recalled right-handed relievers Casey Lawrence and Mike Morin from Tacoma and optioned reliever Nick Rumbelow and infielder Gordon Beckham back to Triple-A.

"Just looking at it, it gives us an extra player here in this series and Paxton wasn't scheduled to pitch in the next 10 days," Servais said. "So, it makes all the sense in the world to do that. Pax felt OK this morning and he doesn't think it's going to be something that causes him to miss his next start."

Paxton flew with the team to Denver for the first-half closing series with the Rockies, instead of going home to see a doctor, another indication that the issue isn't believed to be too serious.

"Standing here, I feel fine," Paxton said. "I think it's more of a fast-twitch thing. I think if it was more serious, it would be hard to walk or stand here. Everything is fine. I think it's just a little rest, a little time, a little TLC and I'll be ready after the break."

Lawrence and Morin both pitched briefly with Seattle earlier in the season. Lawrence, 30, posted a 10.13 ERA with 10 hits and nine runs allowed in eight innings over four appearances in two prior stints with the Mariners, but has gone 6-3 with a 2.81 ERA in 14 outings (11 starts) for Tacoma.

Morin, 27, allowed three hits and one run in two innings in two games for Seattle in June and is 3-2 with a 3.60 ERA in 27 appearances for Tacoma.

Rumbelow, an offseason acquisition from the Yankees, was sent back to Tacoma after allowing four runs on four hits -- including a pair of homers -- in one inning in Thursday's loss. His ERA stands at 7.84, and he's allowed 15 hits and five homers in 10 1/3 innings over eight appearances for Seattle this season.

Beckham was added to the roster this week as an extra infielder and got just one at-bat, hitting into a double-play after replacing shortstop Jean Segura for the final three innings of Thursday's loss. He's hit .200 (7-for-35) in 13 games for Seattle this year.

Injury updates

Catcher Mike Zunino hit off a tee and did some work in the batting cage on Friday, but isn't running yet as he recovers from a bruised left ankle. Servais continues to feel Zunino will be ready to come off the 10-day DL after the All-Star break.

Hernandez is working out at Safeco Field every day, but hasn't started throwing yet as he goes through his own DL stint for a stiff lower back. The veteran right-hander will begin playing catch on Saturday, according to Servais, and then take a normal All-Star break before returning to pitch Saturday against the White Sox.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, James Paxton