The New York Yankees announced Wednesday afternoon that left-handed pitcher James Paxton has undergone back surgery. The operation was completed by Dr. Andrew Dossett in Dallas, Texas, and it is expected to sideline Paxton for three to four months. Paxton, 31, is coming off of a season in which he went 15-6 with a 3.86 ERA in 150.1 innings pitched.
Removing a peridiscal cyst from Paxton’s lumbar region was the cause of the surgery. While these types of cysts are rare, they are usually found within young adults. The cyst itself is a lesion of the spine that, when present, communicates with the inter-vertebral discs through annular fissure
Earlier today, LHP James Paxton underwent a microscopic lumbar discectomy with removal of a peridiscal cyst. The surgery was performed by Dr. Andrew Dossett in Dallas, Texas. His approximate timeline to return to Major League action is 3-4 months.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) February 5, 2020
Outlook For Paxton
With Paxton sidelined for three to four months, it is likely that he won’t make his season debut until at least June. Although the acquisition of Gerrit Cole pushed him back to the middle of the rotation, he was a pitcher expected to have play a big role for the Yankees in 2020.
He struggled throughout 2019 after suffering a knee injury, but he ended the regular season with a ten-start win streak as well as pitched well in Game 5 of the ALCS, facing elimination.
Outlook For Yankees
Dealing with injuries is nothing new for the Yankees, who overcame record-setting injury totals in 2019 to win 103 and capture the AL East title. Their organizational depth provides various options to bridge the gap between Opening Day and James Paxton’s return.
Jordan Montgomery is a candidate to take the fifth spot in the rotation. Montgomery has thrown just 31.1 innings in the past two seasons because of Tommy John Surgery. That being said, he pitched well in 155.1 innings during the 2017 season. He pitched to a 3.88 ERA, 116 ERA+, and 1.230 WHIP, while finishing sixth in the Rookie of the Year voting.
Michael King is another member of the organization who looks ready for MLB. King was the Yankees minor league pitcher of the year in 2018, and posses a two-seam fastball that touches 95 MPH
Outside of the organization, the team could look to give a free agent pitcher a look in Spring Training on a minor league deal. This is not uncommon as they did the same thing with Gio Gonzalez last season. Pitchers such as Taijuan Walker, Drew Smyly, and Tyson Ross are all possibilities and still unsigned.
Losing Paxton is a big loss for the Yankees, but they should be able to get by until he returns.
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