THE LAST THING THE YANKEES KNEE’D :
James Paxton is the latest Yankee to be placed on the Injured List (IL). Big Maple, the de facto ace of the staff, left Friday night’s game (5/3/19) after only 3 innings, with left knee discomfort.
Paxton underwent an MRI which revealed inflammation in the left knee, landing him on the 10 day IL. He will be shutdown for 5-7 days after getting a cortisone shot in the knee.
NOT-SO-SWEET SIXTEEN :
The big lefty becomes the 16th (!!) Yankee to have gone on the Injured List. Star talent that is currently on the IL includes: Severino , Judge , Betances , Gregorius , Stanton and Hicks. Paxton was the big off-season trade acquisition from the Mariners. There is no question that he has ace-like stuff if healthy, but that is a big IF, because he has been on the Injured List every year since 2014, some times on the IL twice in the same season, including 2017 & 2018.
“It’s just kind of been nagging since the start of the season,” said Paxton. “It’s something that I’ve been managing the last little bit. I don’t know why the last game it was acting up more than previous starts. It just got to the point where I was feeling it on every pitch.”
“It’s pretty on par with what I thought it would be,” Paxton added. “I was hoping it wasn’t anything serious, and it wasn’t. This should be able to be fixed pretty quickly and easily with some anti-inflammatories and that injection. Moving forward it should [heal] smoothly.”
So, with those comments by Paxton, we learned he believes this knee issue should be a quick-fix, but we also found out that the condition has been “nagging since the start of the season”. That is not good news imo. My hope was that we would hear that he slipped on the wet grass, and a muscle tightened, but instead we find out it is something that he has been dealing with all year. Granted, it is not a shoulder or elbow injury, however, many times a leg injury can indirectly affect the arm because the usual / normal pitch delivery is altered in a effort to compensate for the soreness.
DIAL M FOR MARINERS :
Paxton going on the IL is not another “next-man-up” situation. The starting rotation desperately need him to take the ball every 5 days. Yankee-ace Luis Severino is already on the IL with a shoulder/lat issue. I was not optimistic about a quick return from the moment that story broke. Why? Because although the Yankees and Sevy disagree when in March the injuries arose, I believe the genesis of the injury started back in the 2nd half of the 2018 regular-season. With that being said, the thought has crossed my mind that there is a possibility the knee injury that Paxton has been dealing with “all season” could go back the the end of last season. The “knee” does not show up on the IL report above, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t something nagging that he was playing through. I can’t help but feel the Mariners traded Paxton because they were concerned about his mounting injuries. Speaking of that, I made a comment when the trade was made .. love the deal, but hope it’s not another Michael Pineda-trade, who I am convinced in that deal the Yankees received damaged-goods. Just a reminder, the team that traded Pineda was … the Seattle Mariners. Different circumstances in that imo the M’s knew there was a specific issue with Pineda’s pitching shoulder, while with Paxton it was more of a cumulative list of injuries that concerned them.
This now makes 6 years in a row James Paxton has ended up on the IL. Obviously the Yankees have to hope he comes off the IL quickly like he believes he will, but more importantly he needs to stay off the IL. The Yankee rotation – and season – is depending on it.