James Paxton hopes to be cleared after a bullpen on Sunday to start next week. The Yankees’ lefty has been on the injured list with inflammation in his left knee, and he said he still felt “something,” when he threw a bullpen on Friday.
He is still planning to throw on Sunday to test his left knee.
“Yeah, I’m hoping that’s what happens. I’d like to get on the mound Sunday and not feel anything. It’s been getting less and less every time I throw, every time I throw a bullpen. I still felt it a little bit yesterday, but I woke up this morning feeling pretty good, so that’s a really good sign,” Paxton said. “So I’ll throw another bullpen tomorrow and hopefully I don’t feel anything and we can keep it going and get going here.”
Paxton did not describe it as pain, but said “I just know it’s there.”
Sunday, Paxton will focus on seeing if he can make all his pitches without experiencing any discomfort.
“Well, tomorrow my focus is going to be on getting my fastball inside because that’s when I have to ride my backside the longest and drive that ball in there,” Paxton said. “So if I can do that without pain, that’ll be the rest.”
HICKS HITS AND GETS CAUGHT
In his third game of the season, after starting late because of a chronic lower back issue, switch-hitting center fielder Aaron Hicks got his first hits from both sides of the plate Saturday.
“I’m starting to feel better right-handed and left-handed. Today I was able to get hits from both sides and I feel like I saw the ball pretty well,” Hicks said. “I just swung out of the zone a couple times for important situations for us and I wasn’t able to get the job done.”
Hicks got ahead of Jose Alvarado, who gave up the walk-off win to the Yankees Friday night, 3-1 in the bottom of the 11th before striking out with a runner on first.
Hicks also ran through a stop sign in the sixth inning and got thrown out at the plate to end a Yankees rally. He tried to score from second on Gleyber Torres’ line drive to left, but Austin Meadows charged the ball and threw him out after an awkward slide at the plate.
“I saw him early waving me home, then by the time he gave me the stop sign I was already committed,” Hicks said. “I took a chance right there to try to score and I didn’t. I got thrown out.” With reigning Cy Young winner Blake Snell on the mound, Boone understood the attempt to be aggressive, but felt that Nevin had the better read.
“Obviously it was a pretty close play at the plate. I think the throw was a little off line that made it close,” Boone said. “Two outs, being aggressive there, obviously, an important run at that point. I think Phil made the right call and just something we’ll talk through and didn’t work out for us.”
GREGORIUS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE
Didi Gregorius is scheduled to start playing in extended spring training games on Monday and is on track to return next month.
“He’s going to play shortstop in extended,” the Yankee manager said. “That puts a smile on my face.”
Initially, Gregorius had been scheduled to ease into games by being the designated hitter, but when the team was in Tampa last weekend he proved he was ready to play the field too. By starting him in extended spring training, the Yankees do not start the 2-game clock on an official minor league rehab assignment.
Boone said a June return is fair to say “if everything goes well.”
“Then obviously you’re on the clock at that point. But because he’s been doing so much already as far as getting live ABs and doing all his work, he’s a little further down the road than he would be at the start of spring training,” Boone said.
After a scare on Friday, taking a pitch off his knee, Giancarlo Stanton is still on track to begin minor league rehab starting next week.
“He’s been getting live ABs the last couple days. He actually got hit yesterday on the knee, so we wanted to see how he came in today. (He’s) OK. Nothing serious. He’s going to get more live ABs today,” Boone said. “The hope is that he will start a rehab assignment with the (Class-A Tampa) Tarpons on Monday potentially.”