James Paxton will not be back in the rotation this weekend. The Yankees’ left-hander, who is on the injured list with left knee inflammation, threw a bullpen on Friday. While Aaron Boone said it went well, the Yankee manager said the soonest Paxton could return from the IL would be next week.
“It went well today. (He) threw a bullpen, warmed up, then sat down and got up and pitched an inning and sat down again, warmed back up just to get the up and down thing going,” Boone said. “It went well. Another positive step. The next thing will be, how does he come in tomorrow, and then he’ll throw potentially another side on Sunday, probably do it on the field.
“He also (did pitchers fielding practice] today, coming off the mound and that all went well,” Boone continued. “If everything goes well, he’ll have another side on Sunday. If that goes well there is a chance we could possibly insert him [back into the rotation] on the road trip.”
Paxton left his May 4 start after three innings with discomfort in the knee. He said that he felt it was irritated by how hard the Yankee Stadium mound is. Since he began throwing, he has worked on his landing spot to try and alleviate any potential of re-injuring the knee. He is also working with a heavy brace on his left knee.
With Paxton not an option for Sunday’s start, the Yankees are mulling using an “opener.” This spring, the Yankees used Chad Green to start and go an inning before turning the ball over to long relievers.
“It kind of depends on these next couple days, how it goes. It could be just a full bullpen day,” Boone said. “It will depend on who we use here the next couple of days, but it will probably be something along those lines on Sunday.”
The Yankees also have Triple-A starter Chance Adams here and available.
The Yankees have become all too familiar with the “opener,” having faced one several times against the Rays, who use Ryne Stanek to open regularly. Friday night was the second time the Yankees faced Stanek in the last week.
“I would to say to some degree we’re used to it, playing the Rays a lot in this scenario where Stanek goes, we’re a little bit used to preparing a little bit different. You are getting ready for potentially a couple of guys,” Boone said. “I think we’re comfortable with it now and knowing it presents a challenge because they are good pitchers they are going to run in there against you. We feel like we’re, it’s not something that is foreign to us now, that at least creates a little bit of comfort.”
With the rain in New York at the beginning of the week and a scheduled day off, the Yankees have played one day of baseball — two games — in the last four days. While most managers and players are creatures of habit and not used so many days off in the season, Boone said it has been a blessing for his team.
“I am watching closely, we kind of prepared like we always do. I don’t view these couple of days where it should affect us one way or the other,” Boone said. “I tend of look at it as a benefit, to get some of our guys some rest, some of our bullpen guys have been off a little more. I think you welcome that at any point in the season.”
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