James Paxton injury: Update, timetable for return and Yankees rotation options

Sporting News

It seems that the injury bug has followed the Yankees into the 2020 season.

On Wednesday, the Yankees announced that starter James Paxton would be out for three to four months after undergoing surgery on his back.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

MORE: When is Opening Day 2020?

The news is brutal for the Bombers and Paxton. The Yankees faced similar troubles early last season when Luis Severino was shelved early in spring training with a shoulder issue. Severino missed most of the season while nursing the injury but did make a few starts down the stretch.

Paxton's situation is different, for a number of reasons: He's not dealing with an arm injury, for one. He's also set to be a free agent after the season, which could absolutely hurt his value in the immediate.

Here's what you need to know about Paxton's injury:

James Paxton injury update

— Paxton threw 25 throws from 60 feet on March 11 and all went well. The lefty said he felt pain free.

— Should all proceed smoothly, Paxton will begin throwing on Wednesday, March 11.

— On March 5, Paxton told reporters he would begin throwing work within the next week, potentially as early as Friday, March 7.

— The Yankees on Feb. 6 announced that Paxton would be out for three to four months after undergoing surgery to remove a peridiscal cyst from his back.

The surgery includes making a small incision along the affected area of the spine, and removing bone and disc material that can protrude and press on sensitive nerve areas in the back. It is a rare type of cyst that affects discs in the spine (per Spine.org.)

The cyst can cause back pain and leg pain, depending on where it's located.

This is especially unfortunate for Paxton, considering he is a free agent following the season and would likely miss time into June or later, depending on how much work he gets in after being cleared to throw.

James Paxton injury history

Paxton has dealt with an unfortunate injury history throughout his career:

2019: Dealt with a knee injury that sidelined him for a month during the season. Also dealt with a sore glute later in the year, but was day-to-day.

2018: A back injury sent him to the disabled list.

2017: Dealt with a strained pectoral muscle, landed on the DL.

2015: Landed on the DL with a strained tendon on the middle finger of his throwing hand.

2014: Had a lat strain that saw him spend time on the (then) disabled list.

MORE: Gerrit Cole is safe, 'special' $324 million bet for Yankees

Yankees' rotation without Paxton

As it stands, the Yankees' rotation is still solid even without Paxton.

1. Gerrit Cole
2. Luis Severino
3. Masahiro Tanaka
4. J.A. Happ
5. Open competition



Before the injury, Paxton likely would have slotted as the No. 2 starter behind Cole, splitting up the righties at the top of the rotation. The Yankees have several in-house candidates to break camp with the team:

— Deivi Garcia, top prospect who will make his major league debut at some point during 2020.
— Jordan Montgomery, who returned from Tommy John surgery in 2019.
— Michael King, a top prospect who also was injured in 2019.
— Jonathan Loaisiga, formerly an MLB Top 100 prospect, could spend time in the bullpen this season.


What to read next