The Yankees are still suffering from a ton of injuries, but James Paxton will be ready to rejoin the starting rotation very soon.
Friday night’s 9th inning heroics allowed the Yankees to surge into first place in the AL East, but they’re going to need their injured stars to return if they want to stay atop the division. Fortunately for manager Aaron Boone, he’s about to get one of his best starting pitchers back onto the mound.
According to the Yankees skipper, Paxton threw a bullpen session on Friday where he sat down between innings to simulate how his knee would react during an actual start. Everything went well for Paxton in the moment, but they key will be to evaluate how his knee feels on Saturday. If he doesn’t experience any soreness then, Boone believes he’ll be able to rejoin the rotation during the team’s seven-game road trip that will begin on Monday.
Obviously, getting Paxton back into the mix would be a huge boost for the Yankees. Placing Jonathan Loaisiga on the 60-day Injured List leaves New York with only four established starters. Using an opener to supplement the rotation one or two times through the order is an acceptable option for the team, but it’s not a long-term solution. Once Paxton gets back onto the mound the Yankees will once again have five starters they can count on.
Of course, Paxton is worth more to Boone’s team than just an average starter. He was pitching very well before his balky knee forced him to be put on the shelf. His 3.11 ERA in seven starts on the season proves he’s been a great investment for the Yankees. Domingo German has pitched like the team’s starter on the young season, but Paxton has also been one of the American League’s best starters.
Expect the Yankees to continue to treat Paxton conservatively. The front office understands they can’t afford to bring him back too soon and allow his knee to trouble him for the full season. When he gets back onto the mound it will be because he’s truly at 100 percent. Boone and Paxton’s teammates can’t wait for that to be the case.