Red Sox’s Alex Cora Addresses Confirmed James Paxton Return

Paxton is set to return (and debut) with Boston


May 9, 2023

The Boston Red Sox have waited nearly two seasons for the debut of left-handed pitcher James Paxton, which is officially set for Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Paxton, 34, has undergone a two-year-long hiatus from Major League Baseball, battling ongoing visits to the injured list including Tommy John surgery in 2022 — when the Red Sox signed him to a one-year, $10 million contract with a player option, which Paxton exercised, for 2023.

Boston skipper Alex Cora, who’s undergone an early-season battle test of injuries to both the lineup and pitching staff, addressed Paxton’s long-awaited return/debut with the Red Sox before the team opened up their three-game series with the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park.

“It’s been up and down,” Cora told reporters pregame in Atlanta, per Rob Bradford of WEEI. “Last year he was very close to contributing and it didn’t happen. Obviously in the offseason, I think a lot of people thought he was gonna opt out and he decided to stay here. We’ve been working hard. It was a weird offseason, spring training too, but happy for him that he’s gonna be able to perform.”

Cora added: “It’s about him being able to compete at this level, that’s the most important thing. And then after that, we’ll go from there.”

With Paxton officially in, Cora will need to shuffle some pitching pieces around. After Tanner Houck delivered another solid start Sunday night against the Philadelphia Phillies, Cora assured Houck’s security in the rotation moving forward. However, this won’t be the case for everyone.

“There’s gonna be people that are gonna be thrilled they’re gonna be in the rotation, others are gonna be upset, but at the same time, we have a job to do,” Cora explained. “You still gotta get people out and you gotta contribute for us to get where we wanna go.”

Thumbnail photo via Rick Scuteri/USA TODAY Sports Images
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