The Yankees still are missing quite a few stars, but James Paxton will return to the mound for New York on Wednesday against the Padres.
It will be quite some time before the Yankees have an opportunity to play at full strength, but the news James Paxton is returning this week is a big boost for New York. His return comes at an opportune time for manager Aaron Boone, who is trying to avoid overloading his bullpen.
The talented southpaw told Lindsay Adler of The Athletic he will return to the team’s rotation for Wednesday night’s game against the Padres. If Paxton hadn’t been able to jump right back onto the active roster from the Injured List this week, the Yankees would have been forced to rely on another opener against San Diego.
That strategy worked earlier this week when Chad Green started against the Padres. However, it tends to put a heavy workload on a Yankees bullpen already short-handed. Relying on pitchers such as David Hale and Nestor Cortes is not what General Manager Brian Cashman and the team’s front office had in mind.
Luis Severino hasn’t pitched this season because of several injuries and isn’t expected back until July at the earliest. Recent injuries to both Jonathan Loaisiga and C.C. Sabathia have forced Boone to juggle his rotation in recent weeks. Getting Paxton back into the mix won’t solve all of the manager’s issues, but it will add a lot of stability to what the pitching staff can expect every five days.
The biggest question about Paxton is whether he’s really ready to return. He was still feeling some discomfort in his injured knee after his simulated game last week. It’s safe to assume he and the Yankees’ medical team agreed the discomfort was related to getting back into the groove of pitching at a high level as opposed to any sort of structural issue.
At any rate, Yankees fans should keep a close eye on how Paxton works against the Padres on Wednesday. If he can return to the rotation ready to pitch up to his potential, it’s going to strengthen the team’s hold on the AL East.