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Yankees James Paxton to undergo MRI for elbow discomfort

Things just keep getting worse for the Yankees.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a few minutes, so that means I need to break into your regularly scheduled broadcast to announce the latest Yankees injury. This time it’s left-handed pitcher James Paxton, who will undergo an MRI for elbow and forearm discomfort. Aaron Boone announced the test in his postgame press conference.

Paxton, 31, tossed five innings of three-run ball against the Rays this afternoon. He walked four, a tell-tale sign of elbow problems, but notched eight strikeouts. The left-hander averaged 91.4 mph on his fourseam fastball, maxing out at 92.7 mph.

Over five starts in 2020, Big Maple has pitched to a 6.64 ERA (4.32 FIP). His strikeout rate (11.51 K/9) is in line with career norms, but he’s allowing far more home runs (1.77 HR/9). Paxton’s fastball velocity is also severely compromised.

Back in spring training, the left-hander underwent lumbar surgery to remove a peridiscal cyst. He completed a full rehab, but Paxton hasn’t looked like the same pitcher since.

The quick ramp up in summer camp has been to blame for a wave of pitching injuries across the league. Here’s hoping Paxton’s discomfort isn’t terribly serious, and that an MRI doesn’t reveal structural damage.

It’s not clear who the Yankees will look to as a replacement in the rotation, but Clarke Schmidt is probably keeping his phone volume up at the alternate site in Scranton. The young right-hander impressed in both spring training and summer camp. He could provide the jolt the Yankees’ rotation needs right now.