Red Sox to activate James Paxton from injured list in coming days

The Red Sox are planning on activating James Paxton from the 15-day injured list during next week’s two-game series against the Braves in Atlanta.

Though Paxton will not pitch in that series, there is a strong chance the veteran left-hander will make his season debut next weekend, when the Red Sox host the Cardinals in a three-game series at Fenway Park.

Paxton began the season on the injured list after straining his right hamstring in his first spring training start on March 3. The 34-year-old did not pitch again in camp and began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester on April 9.

In six rehab outings (five starts) with the WooSox, Paxton posted a 6.23 ERA and 4.48 FIP with 26 strikeouts to 16 walks over 21 2/3 innings of work. He allowed two runs on two hits, five walks, and four strikeouts across five innings (96 pitches) in his final rehab start at Polar Park on Friday night. His 30-day rehab stint expires on Tuesday.

“He threw the ball well,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christoper Smith) at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday. “He threw 90-something pitches. Finished strong. Location (was off). He walked five. Long first inning but overall we’re very pleased with the way he threw the ball.”

With Chris Sale, Corey Kluber, and Tanner Houck starting in Philadelphia and Nick Pivetta and Brayan Bello scheduled to start in Atlanta, Boston already has a full five-man rotation. When asked about the possibility of bringing back a six-man rotation in order to accommodate Paxton, Cora did not rule that idea out.

“If we want to, yeah,” said Cora. “We’ll see.”

Paxton last started a game at the major-league level on April 6, 2021. He tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow in that outing for the Mariners and underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery shortly thereafter.

After signing a one-year deal with the Red Sox that December, Paxton experienced a series of setbacks that prevented him from returning to the big-league mound in 2022. He then exercised a $4 million player option last November that brought him back to Boston for the 2023 campaign.

While Paxton was unable to break camp with the club this spring due to that aforementioned hamstring injury, his first start in a Red Sox uniform is fast approaching. It’s been a long time coming.

(Picture of James Paxton: Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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