NEW YORK (AP) — James Paxton will start the New York Yankees’ AL Division Series opener against the Minnesota Twins on Friday night, and 39-year-old left-hander CC Sabathia will not be included on the roster because of issues with his pitching shoulder.
Paxton (15-6, 3.82 ERA), a 30-year-old left-hander in his first season with the Yankees, will be followed by Masahiro Tanaka (11-9, 4.45) for Game 2 on Saturday and Luis Severino (1-1, 1.50) for Game 3 at Minnesota on Monday.
“I’ve been talking to teammates, asking them what it’s been like pitching in the postseason,” Paxton said
Paxton won a career-best 10 straight starts before leaving his final regular-season start after one inning last Friday because of a tight glute muscle in the left buttocks.
“It’s good. It will be a non-issue,” he said.
He struggled in the first inning, allowing 12 of his 23 home runs, but he gave up just six homers in his final 11 starts.
“I threw a few more pitches in the bullpen second half of the season,” Paxton said, so I could kind of get the first few hitters out of the way in the bullpen just so to try and sharpen myself up, and that seemed to help a little bit _ and also trying to be really aggressive from pitch one.”
Sabathia, who is retiring after the postseason, made his first regular-season relief appearance on Sept. 24 at Tampa Bay.
“He ended up getting a cortisone shot, was able to go out and throw in a sim game Tuesday and, frankly, threw the ball pretty well,” manager Aaron Boone said, “but just not quite where it needs to be, to be in the kind of role we’re going to ask him to be in where he’s potentially getting up on the spot and then maybe having to get up later in the game.”
Boone said Sabathia could be an option later in the postseason.