As spring training games kick off, let’s check in on some injury situations around the game.
- The early stages of James Paxton’s recovery from February back surgery have been promising, reports Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. Paxton is “optimistic” he’ll begin a throwing program around ten days from now, relays Ackert. Paxton suggested he could be back in the Yankees’ rotation by May, which would be at the early end of the three to four month estimate for his recovery immediately post-surgery. A prompt return from the southpaw is perhaps even more important with Luis Severino now dealing with uncertainty of his own. The 31-year-old Paxton posted a solid 3.82 ERA with strong strikeout (29.4%) and walk (8.7%) rates over 150.2 innings in his first season in pinstripes in 2019.
- Rockies’ infielder Brendan Rodgers is ahead of schedule in his own recovery from surgery. The season-ending shoulder procedure he underwent last June was expected to keep him out until sometime in May, reports Thomas Harding of MLB.com, but that timetable could be moving up. Rodgers is hitting without pain, Harding reports, and the infielder estimated he could log reps at DH by March 3. The next step, Harding adds, is for Rodgers to begin a throwing program from shortstop, although he’s already throwing from 160 feet without pain, he says. The former top prospect tells Harding not to rule out a potential Opening Day return.
- In less promising news, Cubs’ reliever Brandon Morrow has been shut down “for at least a few days” with a “mild right upper chest strain,” reports Jordan Bastian of MLB.com (Twitter link). Morrow’s timetable for return is unclear, Bastian adds. Standing alone, a non-arm problem wouldn’t be all that worrisome at this stage of spring training. With Morrow’s litany of prior injuries, though, it’s certainly concerning to hear he’s again fighting through pain. Morrow re-signed with the Cubs on a minor-league deal this offseason after injuries wrecked his first two years with the organization. When healthy, the 35-year-old has proven a highly-effective option in the late innings.
- Another high-leverage reliever, Angels’ right-hander Ty Buttrey, expects to throw off a mound by next Thursday, reports Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. Buttrey suffered an intercostal strain last week, but it never seemed particularly serious. He should be a full go for Opening Day, Fletcher adds.