James Paxton
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James Paxton won’t miss postseason with nerve irritation

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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.

Braves ace Mike Soroka out for year with torn Achilles

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Atlanta Braves ace Mike Soroka is out for the season after tearing his right Achilles tendon Monday night against the New York Mets.

Soroka was hurt in the third inning after delivering a pitch to J.D. Davis, who grounded the ball toward first baseman Freddie Freeman.

Soroka broke toward first to cover the bag, only to go down on his first step off the mound. The right-hander knew right away it was a devastating injury, one that ensures he won’t be back on the mound until 2021.

“It’s a freak thing that happened,” manager Brian Snitker said, delivering the grim news after the Braves lost 7-2 to the Mets. “I’m sorry it did.”

Soroka yelled in obvious pain and tried to walk gingerly for a couple of steps before dropping to his knees. He couldn’t put any weight on the leg as he was helped toward the clubhouse with the assistance of Snitker and a trainer.

It was a major blow to the two-time defending NL East champion Braves, who had won five straight despite struggling to put together an effective rotation.

“Somebody else is going to get an opportunity,” Snitker said. “Things like that happen. These guys will regroup. Somebody is going to get an opportunity to do something really good. Our young guys are going to continue to get better. We’re going to be fine.”

Soroka, who turns 23 on Tuesday, made his first opening day start last month after going 13-4 with a dazzling 2.68 ERA in 2019 to finish second in NL Rookie of the Year balloting and sixth for the Cy Young Award.

Soroka was making his third start of the season. He came in having allowed just two earned runs over 11 1/3 innings but struggled against the Mets, giving up three hits and four walks. He was charged with four earned runs in 2 1/3 innings, the second-shortest outing of his career.

Unfortunately for Soroka, he won’t get a chance to make up for it this season.