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Mariners LHP Marco Gonzales to DL with neck strain; Heredia recalled

Mariners LHP Marco Gonzales, who struggled in his last four starts, has hit the DL. (AP)

The Mariners’ starting pitching situation was already in a state of flux. Now it’s even more true.

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Left-hander Marco Gonzales, who was Seattle’s best pitcher in July but struggled in August, has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a cervical (neck) muscle strain. The Mariners have recalled outfielder Guillermo Heredia from Triple-A Tacoma to take his roster spot.

Gonzales, 26, is 12-9 with a 4.36 ERA this season and well over his previous MLB career-high in innings pitched at 143 2/3. It has shown recently, as he is 0-4 with a 10.35 ERA over his last four outings. The Mariners gave him nine days between his last two starts, and the neck strain could now be part of the answer as to why he has struggled so much after going 5-0 with a 1.57 ERA from June 29 through July 29.

Heredia returns to the Mariners after spending five games with the Tacoma Rainiers following an Aug. 19 option from the big league club. In three stints with Seattle this year, the 27-year-old defensive specialist has a .217 average with 22 runs, 10 doubles, one triple, four home runs and 14 RBIs.

The Mariners will have to name a replacement to start in Gonzales’ place in Wednesday’s game in San Diego. James Paxton, who is also currently on the disabled list recovering from a forearm contusion caused by a line-drive comebacker, is an obvious candidate to slide into Gonzales’ spot in the rotation if he’s ready to return, but the Mariners did express a desire to wait until their next series in Oakland to bring him back so that he wouldn’t have to bat in the National League park.

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