Yankees left-hander James Paxton is still on track to appear in next month’s American League Division Series, according to comments he made to reporters on Saturday. Paxton was lifted from Friday’s start with tightness in his left glute, and a subsequent MRI revealed a mild case of nerve irritation there. Although it’s not an ideal scenario this close to the start of the postseason, it doesn’t look like he’ll be on the shelf for long.
The 30-year-old southpaw made his final start of the regular season this weekend, allowing three hits, two runs, and striking out one of six batters in one inning of work. His early removal from the game was purely precautionary, as the Yankees had already wrapped up the AL East division and saw no reason to push their starter any further than necessary or risk greater injury. (They didn’t need his help to win, either, overcoming a 2-1 deficit in the first inning to beat the Rangers 14-7 for their 103rd win of the year.)
When Paxton takes the mound next, it’ll be for his first-ever playoff appearance, one to which he’ll bring a 15-6 record in 29 starts with a 3.82 ERA, 3.3 BB/9, 11.1 SO/9, and 3.5 fWAR through 150 2/3 innings. Prior to his 2019 stint with the Yankees, he pitched six full seasons with the Mariners — a team that saw some of the best performances of his career to date, but repeatedly struggled to hit the postseason qualification mark from 2013 – 2018.