If all goes well, the Yankees could have two of their lefties back in the starting rotation on this homestand.
James Paxton said on Monday “I feel like I’m ready” to return to the rotation, and the team doctor agreed and pronounced him ready. Paxton has been out since May 4 with inflammation in his left knee.
Aaron Boone said it’s possible that Paxton will start Wednesday, but the day had not been settled on after the Yankees’ 5-2 win over the Padres.
Also, CC Sabathia could return from the injured list on Sunday to face the Red Sox, Boone said. Sabathia went on the IL on Thursday with right knee inflammation.
“Good stuff happening,” Boone said, and that wasn’t limited to Paxton and Sabathia.
Dellin Betances got on the mound for the first time in his latest rehab from a right shoulder injury and threw 20 fastballs. Betances, who has yet to pitch this season, said the next step is to throw a bullpen session on Thursday.
Luis Severino was scheduled to see the team doctor on Monday to determine if he can play catch, which would be the first step on his rehab from a strained lat muscle. Severino also has not pitched this season with a shoulder injury and the lat injury. He said the shoulder is healed.
If Paxton and Sabathia return and the Yankees believe Severino can begin his season after the All-Star break, that would lessen their need and impulse to make a big push for free-agent lefthander Dallas Keuchel, if they even have such an impulse.
The Yankees had a talent evaluator watch Keuchel throw on Sunday at agent Scott Boras’ complex in Newport Beach, California. Bidding for the former Cy Young Award winner should heat up after the June 3-5 amateur draft; once the draft is complete, whichever team signs Keuchel won’t have to forfeit a draft pick as compensation.
The Yankees used Chad Green as an opener against the Padres on Monday, a tactic they employed on May 19 and again on Saturday.
Betances was asked if he’d like to come back as an opener.
“I don’t know what that means,” he said.
When the concept was explained to him, Betances said: “I’ll leave that to the starters.”