Back surgery sidelines starter James Paxton 3-4 months

New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton is expected to miss three to four months after undergoing back surgery on Wednesday.

The Yankees informed that Paxton underwent a microscopic lumbar discectomy and had a peridiscal cyst removed, addressing pain that started last campaign. The surgery was performed by Dr. Andrew Dossett in Dallas.

Paxton left his final regular-season start, at Texas on Sept. 27, after one inning because of what the Yankees said was a tight left glute muscle. That ended the left-hander’s career-best streak of victories in 10 consecutive starts.

He was 1-0 with a 3.46 ERA in three postseason starts, allowing five runs in 13 innings. He made two starts versus the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series.

“He pitched extremely well, especially in Houston,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “But when he started ramping up his winter program about four weeks or so ago, he started feeling symptoms again.”

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After he left that September start, Paxton was examined by Yankees head team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad and Rangers physician Dr. Keith Meister, and the pitcher received an injection of a painkiller. He was then examined in an offseason follow-up by Dossett, receiving a new round of injections, and was told to see how he felt in three weeks.

“It turned out clearly that that did not resolve the problem,” Cashman said, “so surgical intervention then was the last resort.”

Paxton, 31, went 15-6 with a 3.82 ERA in 29 starts last season, his first with the Yankees.

He is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2020 campaign. The Yankees acquired Paxton last offseason in a trade with the Seattle Mariners.

In an injury-riddled season for the Yankees’ staff, Paxton helped lead New York to an AL East title in convincing fashion. He was 5-6 in July but started to reduce his percentage of fastballs and went on his streak. He agreed last month to a $12.5 million, one-year contract.

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