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Call to arms: Yankees’ Paxton, Sabathia near return

By RONALD BLUMMay 27, 2019
New York Yankees' CC Sabathia pitches during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Wednesday, May 22, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
New York Yankees' CC Sabathia pitches during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Wednesday, May 22, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

NEW YORK (AP) — Left-hander James Paxton will rejoin the New York Yankees’ rotation in the new few days, followed by CC Sabathia this weekend against Boston.

On a day of updates for many of the Yankees’ 15 players on the injured list, reliever Dellin Betances threw his first bullpen session Monday, and ace Luis Severino said he planned to throw on flat ground Tuesday.

Paxton has not pitched for the Yankees since May 3 because of left knee inflammation that required a cortisone shot May 4. He felt sore after a 55-pitch, four-inning outing Friday at extended spring training, then threw a bullpen session Sunday.

“It felt the best that it’s felt since going on the IL,” Paxton said.

He said the pain was similar to that of a bruise. Paxton, 3-2 with a 3.11 ERA in seven starts, was cleared to pitch by head team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad. Paxton estimated he would be able to throw about 75 pitches.

“As long as it’s not going to be a thing where I can make this thing worse by pitching on it, I feel like I’m ready to go,” Paxton said. “I just don’t want to go out there and put myself in jeopardy of tearing something and then I’m out for three months.”

Paxton could start Wednesday against San Diego.

“That could change a little bit,” manager Aaron Boone said. “We’ll talk and make sure we want to go with that day.”

Sabathia, 3-1 with a 3.48 ERA in eight starts, went on the injured list Thursday and needed to have fluid drained from his surgically repaired right knee. He planned to throw a bullpen session Tuesday.

“He could possibly then be in place Sunday to end the homestand,” Boone said.

Betances has been out since March because of a right shoulder impingement that caused a velocity drop. He threw 20 pitches, all fastballs, and plans to mix in other pitches in his next bullpen Thursday. Betances had not pitched off a mound since March 17, in his fourth and final spring training appearance.

“He was really encouraged by how he felt, how the ball came out,” Boone said.

Severino has been sidelined since spring training with right rotator cuff inflammation and a strained muscle in his back. He got hurt warming up before his first scheduled spring training start March 5 and has not thrown on flat ground since April 6.

“Good that he’s point at the point where he feels ready to move forward,” Boone said,

After going 2 for 7 with a home run in two games for Class A Tampa, shortstop Didi Gregorius is to move to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday as he nears a return from Tommy John surgery on Oct 17.

Eighteen Yankees have made a total of 20 stints on the IL, close to last year’s total of 20 players making 23 trips to the list. Yet the Yankees are 35-18 and lead the AL East.

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