James Paxton just might make a big advancement in his recovery from back surgery last month, as the LHP could begin throwing as early as this Wednesday.
According to The New York Daily News' Kristie Ackert, Paxton will begin throwing on Wednesday "If everything goes well."
Paxton had surgery in February to remove a peridiscal cyst from his back and was expected to miss 3-4 months, eventually returning in May. So it looks like the pitcher is moving right on schedule in his recovery.
"It's all going to depend on how things go in this rehab process," Paxton said back in February after the surgery. "They told me 4-6 weeks before I can start throwing, so if we're on the closer side of that, that's going to put me two weeks closer to being on the mound. I'm thinking that I'll be back in a big league game some time in May."
This is big news for the Yankees, who coming into the season expected to have Paxton in as their No. 2 or 3 pitcher behind ace Gerrit Cole.
Additionally, the Yankees will be without Luis Severino for the entire 2020 season, after the RHP underwent Tommy John Surgery after experiencing discomfort in his elbow while throwing changeups. Severino was expected to join Paxton right in the middle of the lineup, as well.
After the surgery, Paxton said he was already feeling better.
"I'm feeling really good right now," Paxton said. "The nerve pain that was there before isn't there anymore. Now it's just about getting my body moving again and we're adding new stuff every day."
At least for the first month or so, the Yankees will need to place Masahiro Tanaka up to the No. 2 spot after expecting to have him seeded at No. 4. J.A. Happ's spot in the rotation will also move up, while the Yankees still have to figure out what to do with the bottom half of the lineup as Opening Day approaches fast.
But hearing the Paxton news certainly puts the front office slightly at ease and can potentially make things easier down the line, as they look for a starting caliber pitcher on the market to replace Severino in their lineup come the real heat of the season.