SEATTLE -- The Mariners' injury-plagued rotation took another hit Friday as left-hander James Paxton was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a left forearm strain and will miss his next two or three starts, general manager Jerry Dipoto said.
After experiencing some soreness in his last two outings, Paxton had an MRI on Thursday after the issue flared up again during a throwing session. But Dipoto said the test showed only a Grade 1 strain, which was the best possible outcome.
"The ligament is fine, there is no tear, but we are going to be as cautious here as we have to be," Dipoto said. "He will miss at least two starts and we think in all likelihood that's what it will be, just two missed starts and we'll see him in the next homestand if we approach this the right way."
Paxton joins Drew Smyly and Felix Hernandez on the disabled list. Smyly is on the 60-day DL with a strained elbow, and Hernandez is expected to miss about 10 more days with bursitis in his shoulder.
The 28-year-old Paxton has been Seattle's best starter, going 3-0 with a 1.43 ERA in six outings, with 45 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings.
"It's hard, especially with Felix and Smyly out," Paxton said. "We've got some injuries right now. It's a tough blow. Obviously it's not what we wanted, but we'll have some guys step up and the guys are swinging the bats great right now, so we'll be just fine."
The Mariners recalled right-hander Evan Marshall and infielder Mike Freeman from Triple-A Tacoma, and optioned outfielder Boog Powell to Tacoma in addition to putting Paxton on the DL.
Marshall will be available in the bullpen, but Dipoto said right-hander Christian Bergman will be called up from Tacoma sometime this weekend and either he or lefty long reliever Dillon Overton will fill Paxton's next scheduled start Sunday against Texas.
Hisashi Iwakuma, who took a line drive off his left leg in his last start Wednesday against the Angels, has a bruised knee but should be OK for his next outing Tuesday in Philadelphia, Dipoto said.
As for Hernandez, Dipoto indicated the veteran right-hander is progressing well from the bursitis that landed him on the DL on April 25. He'll begin throwing in the next few days and the initial projection of a three-to-four-week layoff could fall more toward three weeks, which would have him back at some point in the next homestand as well.
Smyly said he could begin throwing in about two weeks, at which point he can begin building back up his arm strength after being out since late March.
But in the short term the Mariners have rookie Chase De Jong filling Hernandez's spot and now either Overton or Bergman, who is 5-0 with a 2.17 ERA in five starts for Tacoma, taking Paxton's place.
"We've been dealing with it dating back to Spring Training," Dipoto said. "It's the first week of May, and we've lost 60 percent of our rotation, we haven't had our eighth-inning guy [Steve Cishek] all year, three relievers are on the DL who we'd planned on helping us out. You have to scramble the jets and do what you have to do."
Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)
Paxton owners in all formats will need to make room on their bench or disabled list for an emerging ace who owns a 1.43 ERA (1.52 FIP), a 0.98 WHIP and a 10.8 K/9 rate across six starts this season. The left-hander will be difficult to replace, but those in shallow leagues can check waivers for a high-strikeout hurler such as Francisco Liriano or Eduardo Rodriguez. Meanwhile, fantasy owners in deep leagues should see if Alex Wood, Jesse Hahn or Mike Foltynewicz is available to fill in for Paxton.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.