Red Sox’s Alex Cora Feeling ‘Down’ Following James Paxton’s Setback

Paxton began a rehab assignment on Thursday


August 18

Anticipation was building for James Paxton to make his long-awaited debut with the Boston Red Sox this season.

That now seems in jeopardy of even happening at all.

Paxton, who has been sidelined for the whole campaign as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, began a rehab assignment Thursday with the Red Sox’s Florida Coast League affiliate, but the left-hander exited after facing two batters due to left lat tightness, according to The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey and MassLive’s Chris Cotillo.

What should have been a promising day for Paxton and the Red Sox was anything but due to the setback.

“We were very excited for him to go out there, get two or three innings today, but that happened,” Red Sox manager Cora told reporters prior to Thursday’s series finale against the Pittsburgh Pirates, as seen on NESN pregame coverage. “Hopefully something that it’s mild, it’s nothing major, and just a few days and then get back into it. A little bit down for him. I know he’s bust his butt to get to this point.”

NESN 360 in-article asset

Alex Cora likened what Paxton has gone through to all the roadblocks Chris Sale faced during his recovery from Tommy John. Paxton seemed to be making progress throughout his rehab, which had Cora thinking about the 33-year-old joining the big-league club late in the season.

“Pretty similar to Chris (Sale) last year,” Cora told reporters. “I was excited. It was two or three (innings) today and then you start doing the math, and at one point he was probably going to be part of this in September. The stuff was good. Everybody has been talking about it. Like I said before, he wasn’t worried about his health, he was just worried about the pitches. For this to happen, it’s probably going to put an obstacle.”

While it’s unclear if Paxton, who appeared in only one game last season, will take the mound for the Red Sox this season, he could next year if the team exercises the two-year option on his contract.

Thumbnail photo via Rick Scuteri/USA TODAY Sports Images
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