James Paxton's walk year in Yankee pinstripes has gotten off to an unfortunate start.
The lanky lefty has been remarkably successful at every turn in every endeavor...except staying healthy.
Now, just a week before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, Paxton has surprisingly gone under the knife in an effort to remove a "peridiscal cyst" that was surely causing trouble with his back. It's not a short-term, quick fix necessarily, either; Paxton will miss three to four months recovering.
This isn't a death knell for the Yankees by any means -- Gerrit Cole, Luis Severino, and Masahiro Tanaka can navigate the spring while waiting for Paxton to return -- but a supplementary arm would help, with Domingo German squeezed out of the rotation, but now suspended.
Say goodbye to a JA Happ trade at this point, too.
With Paxton on the shelf, it looks far more likely that Jordan Montgomery, a favorite of many Yankee prospect fanatics, will get to make his forceful return from Tommy John surgery in the big league rotation.
That, or Mike King.
In 29 starts, the 31-year-old Paxton 15-6 with a 3.82 ERA last year, missing time due to injury.