The New York Yankees are set to face the Cleveland Indians in the Wild Card series in what looks to be a very tough assignment. Shane Bieber will take the ball in Game 1 for the tribe, while Gerrit Cole, the Bombers’ ace, will do the same for New York.
The Yankees’ pitching may not be quite as good as the Indians’, but their offense is much better. Still, overcoming Cleveland will be no small task.
If the New York Yankees do manage to make a deep postseason run, there is a slight chance that they get one of their star pitchers back. James Paxton, who is currently out with a Grade 1 strained flexor in his left arm, could potentially be ready later down the road.
The most likely scenario is that Paxton doesn’t pitch again in the 2020 season, as his injury is not a minor thing. But according to Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone, there is a glimmer of hope that the lefty starter can make an appearance before the playoffs end.
Could Paxton return in time to help the Yankees in 2020?
According to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, Paxton still hasn’t officially been ruled out from returning in 2020. He played catch during the Yankees’ workout on Monday in Cleveland, as he tries to get his arm in shape.
One thing is certain: he will not be ready in time to pitch against the Indians, as he is still in the playing catch phase and would need to graduate to throwing from a mound. Boone explained that the Yankees are looking more “towards the end of the postseason.”
Paxton struggled with the velocity of his fastball this season, especially in the early going. From 2017 to 2019, Paxton averaged almost 97 mph with his heater, but he struggled to even hit the mid-nineties in 2020.
He finished the regular season with a 6.64 ERA and a 4.37 FIP in five starts and 20.1 innings.