TAMPA – The Yankees needed until last month to find out exactly what was wrong with James Paxton's back. That is why the left-hander was operated on just over a week ago to keep him out in May at the earliest.
Paxton said he felt pain for the first time on his last regular season outing against the Rangers on September 27, and struggled with discomfort during his three games in the playoffs.
However, the problem worsened early in the off-season, causing Paxton to undergo a microscopic lumbar discectomy with a peridiscal cyst removed.
"It was pretty bad in November," said Paxton at Steinbrenner Field on Thursday. "That was probably the worst point. We tried to find out what was going on. I flew back to New York and saw a back doctor. "
This led to several injections to fix the problem.
"I did PT out of season," said Paxton. "It would be better and then worse and then better. We finally found out what was going on and had to have it removed. "
This happened when Paxton finally ran a dye contrast CT scan last month that identified the cyst.
"I wish I could have had it done in October, but we just didn't know exactly what was happening back then," said Paxton. "I would rather have it now than in the off-season and then miss a full three months of the season." This way I will hopefully only miss a month or so. "
The left-hander is currently working on his mobility and has been informed that he can start throwing four to six weeks after the operation. If rehab goes well, Paxton believes he could be back by May.
"I think so," said Paxton of a possible return to the season in just over a month. "At the moment, I don't really know anything. I'll take it every day."