The Seattle Mariners have been off to a great start this season, but injuries are starting to pile up, as James Paxton was placed on the 15-day DL with a back strain and this comes as Taijuan Walker and Hisashi Iwakuma are on their way back from injuries and they are the best fantasy baseball pickups for owners looking to replace Paxton if they are still available.
Paxton started the season very hot for the Mariners and he made his debut at the end of the season last year and also was very impressive, but now he will hit the DL after starting and winning against the Angels for the second time this season. Ironically for the Mariners, all of their "Big 3" prospects are on the DL with Paxton, Taijuan Walker and Danny Hultzen, but Walker is on his way back and he should be into the rotation soon after looking very sharp in the minors and this comes after he made his major league debut last season as well.
Paxton won his first start in LA and then left in the sixth inning of the Mariners home opener on Tuesday and he now is 5-0 with a 1.75 ERA in six starts and he is 2-0 on the season before hitting the DL. Paxton said that he felt some tightness in his back, but he said the strain is not serious and the team is being cautious, as they have had other players with the injury before and Paxton is one of their most valuable starters. The Mariners are now 5-3 on the season and they only could muster one hit against the Angels on Wednesday night.
Seattle recalled left-hander Lucas Luetge for the roster, while Chris Young is coming into the rotation for Paxton until Walker comes back to the rotation with Iwakuma. The Mariners have been able to weather the storm so far this season with the rotation and once Walker comes back, the team should be even strong in the pitching rotation. Paxton hoped to avoid the DL, but the Mariners wanted to make sure he had the time to recover.
Walker has been very sharp in the minors and he threw 85 pitches in his second start and he just threw five scoreless innings and struck out 10 batters and allowed just three hits. Walker has been very good over the past season and he should be slotted right into the rotation once he gets healthy enough to return. Nick Franklin has been killing it in the minors and the Mariners could be looking to make a deal later in the season, as he has been off to a great start with five RBIs and two home runs in his first five games.