First Rehab Start In 16 Months Doesn't Go As Planned For James Paxton

He hasn't had a full season in the big leagues since 2019, and after Tommy John surgery last April, left-hander James Paxton finally thought he could see the light at the end of the tunnel: An actual rehab start for the Boston Red Sox rookie-level minor league team today.

But it lasted all of two pitches. That's TWO pitches. Lat tightness caused him to be pulled from the start, and what happens next is a visit to the doctor. 

It is indeed a lat strain, and Paxton's return this season—which was still a few weeks away at best—is now in doubt. 

The 32-year-old tossed just one game for the Seattle Mariners last season before his elbow gave out, and TJ surgery ensued. In 2020, he only managed to pitch in 5 games for the New York Yankees, posting a 6.64 ERA. 

When healthy, Paxton has been a high-end starter throughout his career, with an overall ERA of 3.59 with a 1.21 WHIP and 10 strikeouts per nine innings. 

The Red Sox have a decision to make after the season, based on Paxton's unique contract he signed with them this year. The Sox can either exercise a 2-year, $26M club option, or decline it, which allows Paxton to exercise a 1-year, $4M player option if he so chooses. 

First step is a medical report, hopefully as soon as Friday. 

Photos: USA TODAY NETWORK,Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports