Seattle Mariners pitcher James Paxton has been advised to have season-ending Tommy John surgery, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman.
Paxton exited during the second inning against the White Sox on April 6 with left elbow discomfort after throwing just 24 pitches in his 2021 regular season debut. He visibly grimaced after hurling a 92 mph fastball, then grunted and placed his hands on his knees behind the mound.
The left-hander said that he didn’t begin experiencing discomfort until the second inning. From there, it rapidly snowballed.
“It just got worse and worse, and I just kind of felt it,” Paxton said. “It got to a point where I wasn't able to throw pitches.”
Seattle manager Scott Servais originally classified the injury as a forearm sprain, and Paxton later added that it's related to the strained left flexor tendon he suffered last year. However, he said at the time that it wasn't as painful as the previous injury.
"It's kind of been a process through the recovery of my flexor strain from last year, throwing this offseason, going into bullpen [sessions], getting in Spring Training games,” Paxton told MLB.com. “And that process was all going well. I was going through the levels kind of building it up. And I just came into tonight, I was pretty confident that I was going to be good. But it turned out that it just was a little bit too much for what my flexor was ready for.”
The 32-year-old has battled significant injuries throughout his career. He made only five appearances for the Yankees last season before returning in free agency on a one-year deal to the Mariners, who traded him to New York before the 2019 season. The native Canadian, nicknamed The Big Maple, threw a no-hitter for Seattle in 2018 and has recorded a 3.59 ERA over 137 career starts.