PADRES (29-28) AT YANKEES (35-19)
1:05 p.m. ET; YES, MLBN, FSSD, MLB.TV
For more than three weeks, James Paxton has devoted his time to throwing and other rehab activities to help him solve a frustrating case of left knee inflammation.
While the pain and discomfort have not entirely gone away, Paxton feels good enough to return to the New York Yankees. He will be activated to start the finale of a three-game series against the San Diego Padres on Wednesday afternoon.
The Yankees will be trying to win their eighth straight series after falling short Tuesday in a 5-4 loss. New York is 12-3 in its past 15 games, 27-9 in the past 36 and has not dropped consecutive games since April 30-May 1 in Arizona.
Paxton (3-2, 3.11 ERA) has been out since May 3, when he exited a start against Minnesota after the third inning. He was placed on the injured list the following day, and the Yankees estimated Paxton would be out at least three weeks.
Heading into Wednesday, Paxton prepared for his return by getting a cortisone injection, throwing a 55-pitch four-inning simulated game at extended spring training Friday and a bullpen session Sunday in Kansas City.
While Paxton still feels some pain, it’s manageable enough that he can return even though manager Aaron Boone does not think the left-hander will approach throwing 100 pitches Wednesday.
“I just don’t want to go out there and put myself in jeopardy of tearing something,” Paxton said Monday. “Then I’m out for three months or something like that. If I can come back and I’m told I’m not going to injure myself worse, and just pitch through some discomfort, I can do that.”
Even if Paxton is pitching through some discomfort, the Yankees are hopeful they will see a continuation of his previous three starts before the injury. Before getting hurt, Paxton allowed three earned runs in 19 2/3 innings in three starts while getting 32 strikeouts.
Paxton is 1-1 with a 2.79 ERA in two career starts against the Padres, whom he faced while pitching for the Seattle Mariners.
San Diego will attempt to win for the seventh time in nine games after Eric Hosmer hit a three-run homer Tuesday and manager Andy Green used four pitchers to get through the seventh. Hosmer continued to be amongst San Diego’s hottest hitters and is batting .429 (12-for-28) with three homers and nine RBIs over his past seven games.
After holding on to even the series, the Padres will start Chris Paddack (4-2, 1.93 ERA). Paddack, who has never faced the Yankees, will be pitching on eight days’ rest after being scratched from his scheduled start Sunday in Toronto due to a stiff neck.
Paddack last pitched May 20 against Arizona, when he allowed one run on five hits in six innings of a 2-1 win. It was the seventh time he allowed one run or none, and he picked up the win after Franmil Reyes homered in the sixth.
“Confidence, focus, conviction, I think he’s done that very consistently,” Green said of Paddack on Tuesday. “It’s like every other pitcher in the game, not every outing is perfect, but there’s a lot to like about Chris. His pitch mix is going to play as he continues to grow and evolve. He’s a guy we like a lot.”
–Field Level Media