Aug. 21, 3:43pm:: The Yankees have placed Paxton on the IL with a Grade 1 flexor strain.
12:53pm: Paxton’s official diagnosis is a flexor strain, Heyman tweets. He’s likely to be placed on the injured list.
12:08pm: MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweets that Paxton received relatively good news on the MRI. His injury is believed to be muscular in nature, as opposed to a structural issue with a ligament.
Paxton started the Yankees’ loss to the Rays on Thursday and performed decently, throwing five innings of one-hit, three-run ball with eight strikeouts against four walks. In all, though, it certainly hasn’t been a great platform season for the oft-injured 31-year-old, who entered Thursday with a 7.04 ERA and a below-average 4.97 FIP in 15 1/3 innings. And though Paxton did begin his latest start with excellent strikeout and walk numbers (10.57 K/9, 1.76 BB/9), his average fastball has clocked in just under 93 mph – well below the 95-96 area he sat in from 2016-19.
While Paxton clearly hasn’t had a banner season, a long-term absence – which forearm troubles often lead to – would be more unwelcome news for an injury-plagued, starter-needy New York club. Even after a sweep at the hands of the Rays, Yankees are still 16-9 and in wild-card position. However, their only reliable starter to date has been Gerrit Cole, while Masahiro Tanaka and Jordan Montgomery have joined Paxton in failing to provide a front-end complement to Cole. As such, whether or not Paxton’s injury proves to be serious, the Yankees could be in the market for rotation help as the Aug. 31 trade deadline approaches.