When the New York Yankees officially released the news that starting lefty pitcher James Paxton would miss 3-4 months of the season after having a cyst removed from his lower back, optimism regarding the beginning of the 2020 season took a hit.
Luckily, the signing of Gerrit Cole and return of Jordan Montgomery offers the team much-needed support in the pitching rotation.
According to MLB Insider Jon Heyman:
â€œWeâ€™re very optimistic heâ€™ll back in the first third of the season,â€ agentÂ Scott Boras said, via Heyman.
James Paxton will be back sooner than has been estimated/suggested following his microscopic lumbar discectomy, according to agent Scott Boras. “We’re very optimistic he’ll back in the first third of the season,” Boras said.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 7, 2020
The initial recovery timetable ended in June, but it’s possible Paxton return in April at some point, which gives the Yankees more comfort. Having a top lefty pitcher is an essential part of the Yankees’ rotation, considering the top four pitchers are now all righty.
Behind Cole, Paxton is arguably the second-best pitcher with Luis Severino close behind. In “Big Maple’s” first season in the Bronx, he finished wit a 15-6 record with a 3.82 ERA in 29 starts. Over the second half of the season, he showed ace potential, winning 10 of his final 11 games. His 2.51 ERA was tremendous, along with his 69 strikeouts in 61 innings. While his postseason form was jittery, he performed well enough for the Yankees to win, but their run-support fell off due to fatigue and injury.
The Bombers and manager Aaron Boone will rely on Paxton moving forward to help lead the rotation, along with Cole and Severino, who are both considered ace-level pitchers.
As per NJ.com:
Dr. Andrew Sama, co-chief of spinal surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, said he believed the 31-year-old Paxton should make a full recovery. Sama has performed the surgery before, but on other athletes, and hasnâ€™t seen Paxtonâ€™s medicals.
â€œIf the thing thatâ€™s slowing someone down is â€” this cyst or disc or whatever it is pressing on a nerve â€” and that offending agent is removed, then once they heal from the surgery, theoretically, they should be good to go,â€ Sama said. â€œNow, there is a possibility that the cyst or the disc or whatever it is can come back, but thatâ€™s pretty rare. Itâ€™s less than three or 4 percent.â€