James Paxton is First Major Injury of Yankees' 2020 Season

Yankees Pitcher Won 15 Games In 2019

The Yankees will be without starting pitcher James Paxton for the first few months of the 2020 season.

Paxton, 31, underwent a procedure to remove a peridiscal cyst as well as a microscopic lumbar discectomy, the Yankees announced Wednesday afternoon. The timeframe for Paxton's recovery is projected to be at least three to four months. 

According to ESPN's Marly Rivera, the microscopic lumbar discectomy is a surgery to remove a herniated disc in the lower spine. The Big Maple struggled with injuries relating to his back throughout his career. In 2018, Paxton, then with Seattle, spent time on the injured list with inflammation in his lower back. 

Paxton, who was dealt to the Yankees in Nov. 2018, was stellar in his first season in New York. The season earned Paxton a new one-year deal worth $12.5 million as he avoided arbitration with the Yankees in January. 

He went 15-6 with a 3.82 ERA last season. The fifteen wins in 29 games was a career-high mark for Paxton. The timing of the injury, however, isn't ideal as Yankees' pitchers scheduled to report to spring training on Feb. 12. 

The addition of prized free agent Gerrit Cole bolstered the team's rotation and softens the loss of Paxton. Cole and Masahiro Tanaka are listed the Yankees' top two starters, according to the team's depth chart, with Luis Severino and JA Happ filling out the rest of the rotation. 

Paxton's absence creates an opportunity for the likes of Jordan Montgomery to slide into the vacancy.

New York is set to begin its spring training slate on Feb. 22 against the Toronto Blue Jays. Sans Paxton, the Yankees' commence the regular season in Baltimore on March 26.

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