James Paxton injury update suggests he may have thrown his last pitch for Yankees


The Yankees transferred James Paxton to the 45-day injured list.

As of late, the New York Yankees have largely been blessed with positive injury updates. Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Jonathan Loaisiga and Gio Urshela are back. At this point, all this team is missing is Luis Severino and Tommy Kahnle, both of whom are out for the year.

But now it looks like we can add James Paxton to that list, too. The left-hander hit the injured list a couple weeks ago after being diagnosed with a flexor strain in his left forearm, and after attempting to throw on flat ground last Wednesday, he experienced pain and was shut down until further notice.

A week later, the Yankees have now placed him on the 45-day IL, meaning he won’t be able to return to the team until mid-October.

So much for possibly seeing him come out of the Yankees bullpen during the postseason. Fans were hoping for that, since it was largely unrealistic he’d be able to build himself back up as a starter with so little time left in the 60-game campaign.

Even worse, this likely means Paxton has thrown his last pitch in pinstripes. The left-hander, who was acquired after the 2018 season, figured to give the Yankees an ace-like presence atop the rotation and assist Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino. Unfortunately, injuries have largely prevented that from happening.

We only got to see Sevy and Pax in the rotation at the same time for three starts (Severino made only three starts last year due to injury issues and Paxton battled a knee injury throughout 2019, too). Now, Severino is out for all of 2020 due to Tommy John surgery and Paxton made only five starts this year after offseason back surgery. And now this.

The Yankees knew what they were getting into when they made this deal with the Seattle Mariners. Paxton has battled injury issues for his entire career and never threw more than 160.1 innings or made more than 28 starts with the M’s. Though he made 29 starts with the Bombers last year, his nagging knee issue undoubtedly affected his performance, resulting in a 3.82 ERA. That’s not bad, but it wasn’t what the Yankees were looking for.

Nonetheless, Paxton proved to battle each and every time he took the mound for the Yankees, and fans have to appreciate that, even though he was unable to bring his top-notch abilities during his short tenure with the team. We can still hold out hope he returns for the postseason, but he may not want to push it in a contract year and risk further damage.

We’ve more than likely seen the last of Paxton with the Yankees. With all of the other needs and financial obligations the team has, nobody can expect general manager Brian Cashman to give him a multi-year contract or even present him with a qualifying offer.