Could Red Sox Give James Paxton New Role In Injury Return?

'As of now, we're going to stretch him out'


Apr 11, 2023

The wait for James Paxton to make his Boston Red Sox debut could soon be coming to an end.

When, where and how will this debut come about? Well, that all remains to be seen.

The beginning of Paxton’s career with Boston has been sloppy. The 34-year-old was signed to a one-year contract with some interesting language prior to the 2022 season before missing the year recovering from Tommy John surgery and being shut down with a lat tear in late August. After Boston declined its two-year club-option, Paxton picked up his one-year, $4 million player option to give himself another shot at working on the Red Sox’s staff.

That led to spring training, where Paxton made one start before finding himself back on the shelf with an injury. That put him back on an injury rehab schedule, where the former Seattle Mariner has been throughout the start of the Red Sox’s season.

Boston has gotten some good news regarding his progress, but some more interesting language has some believing his eventual debut will come in an unfamiliar spot.

“As of now, we’re going to stretch him out,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Tuesday, per Ian Browne of

Paxton has already made one rehab start and is scheduled to make one more before potentially joining the big-league club. When he does, will Paxton be in the bullpen? It’s possible.

Though it’s been reported the team hasn’t approached Paxton about relieving, the crowded rotation in Boston could force the potential move. Corey Kluber, Chris Sale, Nick Pivetta, Tanner Houck, Garrett Whitlock and Kutter Crawford have already made starts, with Brayan Bello a near-lock to join that rotation once he gets healthy. Crawford was optioned, and Houck is expected to make the move to the bullpen, but that rotation is already full. Paxton does not have experience in the role.

The Red Sox could either choose to roll with six men, or make one more move from the rotation to the bullpen. Given their options, Paxton may eventually be that guy.

Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
Boston Red Sox pitcher Brayan Bello
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