Mariners Lefty James Paxton is turning heads around the league with his scoreless start to the season. And on Monday, he learned something new.
Paxton was picked as the American League player of the week for April 10-16 after pitching a combined 15 scoreless innings in victories over Houston and Texas at Safeco Field.
"I actually didn’t know there was an award for the week," he said, "but it’s really cool. I was honored. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the game-calling by (catcher Mike) Zunino back there. He did a fantastic job.
"And the guys making the plays in the field makes it a full team effort."
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Whoa. Wait. Back up.
You didn’t know there was a weekly award? Since Paxton reached the big leagues late in the 2013 season, he’s had teammates win it on seven times.
"I didn’t (about the award) until this morning when I got the text," Paxton confessed. "I’ve got to pay more attention, I guess."
Paxton’s scoreless week followed six scoreless innings in his previous start against the Astros in Houston. His 21 shutout innings to start a season broke a franchise record previously held by reliever Mark Lowe at 17 2/3 innings in 2006
Paxton gave up just six hits last week in his 15 innings while striking out 17 and walking three. He is first Mariners pitcher to win the weekly award since Hisashi Iwakuma for the week of Aug. 10-16, 2015 after his no-hitter against Baltimore.
"He’s certainly deserving of (the award)," manager Scott Servais said. "Paxton has thrown the ball outstanding. He’s really off to a great start. That doesn’t mean he’s not going to give up a run this year.
"He’s probably going to give up at least one."
The last Mariners left-handed pitcher to win the award was Randy Johnson for June 2-8, 1997. The club’s last player to win the award was second baseman Robinson Cano for May 2-8, 2016.
***The National League player of the week will also be at Safeco Field over the next three days: Miami outfielder Marcell Ozuna batted .435 last week in six games with four homers and 12 RBIs.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners