The New York Yankees just announced that starter James Paxton underwent back surgery today — a microscopic lumbar discectomy with removal of a peridiscal cyst, to be specific. His timeline to return to Major League action is 3-4 months.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that, per Brian Cashman, Paxton first experienced pain in his back the final week of the regular season and received treatment to which he responded well, allowing him to face the Astros in the postseason. Paxton was reportedly managing well in the offseason, but the issue returned a month ago. They attempted a conservative, pain-management program at first in an attempt to avoid surgery but it was unsuccessful.
This is a huge blow for the Yankees. Paxton was set to be the number two or number three starter for New York after Gerrit Cole and, possibly, Masahiro Tanaka depending on how spring training played out. Now he’s out until May or June at least. Barring setbacks. Paxton was one of the Yankees’ few somewhat healthy pitchers last year, making 29 starts and posting a 3.82 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 186/55 in 150.2 innings.
Last year the Yankees managed to overcome a ton of injuries with a “next man up” philosophy and a whole lot of luck. They start 2020 poised to have to do the same thing once again.