James Paxton … pneumonia?
That’s what this Seattle Mariners season has come to – all but mathematically out of the playoff chase and then their ace pitcher heads to a Seattle-area hospital with pneumonia.
Mariners manager Scott Servais provided that update to reporters on Thursday in Anaheim before their four-game series opener against the Angels. Paxton was previously scheduled to start Friday, but the Mariners will go the bullpen route, instead, Servais said.
“Not sure when he’d slide back into the rotation,” Servais said. “But I’m expecting him to come back and pitch. Hopefully it’s on this road trip.”
Servais first announced Paxton wasn’t feeling well just before the Mariners’ Tuesday game against the Padres.
“What I’ve heard is that he’s feeling a little better today,” Servais said. “It’s one thing to get on a plane and get out here, but you don’t want it to be contagious. You got to be smart here.”
The Mariners won’t be home until Sept. 24, not until they finish this series with the Angels, three games in Houston and then three more in Arlington, Texas, against the Rangers.
Paxton isn’t the only Mariner struck by an illness. All-Star shortstop Jean Segura was out of the Mariners starting lineup for the third consecutive day with flu-like symptoms and Servais said outfielder Cameron Maybin started to come down with something.
Servais did say doctors assured him that what Paxton and what Segura have are different.
“I’m not a doctor, so I’m only going off of what they are telling me,” Servais said. “But that’s what I asked, too, and it’s not the same thing.”
He started to say Paxton’s pneumonia is not as severe as other forms of it before he stopped himself.
“I’m answering questions I’m not qualified to answer,” Servais laughed.
Paxton is 11-6 with a 3.83 ERA in a career-high 26 starts this season and has 194 strikeouts in 150 1/3 innings pitched.
Paxton isn’t the only Mariners starting pitcher who remained in Seattle.
So did Felix Hernandez.
That means Hernandez will not start in the Angels series after tweaking his right hamstring and exiting in the fifth inning of his most recent start Sunday against the Yankees. Hernandez said the hamstring had been bothering him for at least the previous three starts.
“He’s feeling better today, but he stayed back as well,” Servais said. “He needed to get out and play catch today and make sure his arm is moving.”
But Servais also said they were hopeful Hernandez would still be able to pitch sometime during the 10-game road trip.
That means Erasmo Ramirez will start Saturday after the Mariners use a bullpen day on Friday, while Marco Gonzales is scheduled to start Sunday’s series finale.
Hernandez, in 27 starts, has a career-high 5.46 ERA and is 8-13. This is the most starts he’s made since 2015, when he went 18-9 with a 3.53 ERA.
The Mariners had yet to name their starter as Friday’s replacement for Paxton, though they have options in the bullpen because left-hander Roenis Elias, right-hander Casey Lawrence and right-hander Adam Warren all have starting experience. The Angels pushed RHP Matt Shoemaker (2-0, 3.45 ERA) back a day to start Friday.
The game starts at 7:07 p.m. at Angel Stadium. It will broadcast on Root Sports And 710-AM radio.