NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 18: James Paxton #65 of the New York Yankees reacts after retiring the Houston Astros during the sixth inning in game five of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 18, 2019 in New York City.
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton is rocking a mustache at spring training and it’s quite the look.

Lefty James Paxton is bringing some new heat to New York Yankees spring training. Although he recently underwent surgery and will miss some time, his new mustache makes up for it.

“I mean I was shaving my beard the other day, I have a beard all offseason and I was left with the mustache,” Paxton said. “I’ve had the mustache before. My wife was here and I asked her, ‘Should I keep the mustache?’ And she’s like ‘Yeah, I like the mustache.’ So, here’s the mustache.”

Paxton, who recently underwent back surgery, was initially expected to be sidelined for three-to-four months but he’s pretty optimistic he’ll be returning sometime in May.

“It’s all going to depend on how things go in this rehab process,” Paxton told reporters via SNY. “They told me four-to-six weeks before I can start throwing, so if we’re on the closer side of that, that’s going to put me two weeks closer to being on the mound. I’m thinking that I’ll be back in a big-league game sometime in May.”

In his first year with the Yankees, Paxton quickly became an extremely important part of the rotation. In 150.2 innings pitched, Paxton had an ERA of 3.82, WHIP of 1.281, ERA+ of 116, and FIP of 3.86 while striking out 186 batters. He pitched in the postseason for the first time in his career in 2019 and was solid, leading the Yankees to wins in both of his starts.

The pressure was on for Paxton as he was named the starter for Game 1 of the ALDS against the Minnesota Twins, but he did a decent enough job. He allowed three earned runs on five hits including two home runs in 4.2 innings but still managed to strike out eight batters.

His standout performance came in Game 5 of the ALCS against the Houston Astros when he allowed two earned runs in 8.1 innings while also striking out a whopping 12 batters. Paxton’s stellar performance that day helped keep the Yankees alive for one more game.

Paxton’s presence in the Yankees’ rotation is necessary, and the 31-year-old’s absence is likely to be felt by the team and fans, alike. Here’s to hoping his mustache is a good luck charm and helps him heal faster than expected.

Leen has written about the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and international soccer. She is currently the primary NHL writer for ESNY. Leen's work has been featured on Bleacher Report and she was formerly a contributor for FanSided's New York Mets blog, Rising Apple. She is a co-host of the Yankees-Mets Express podcast.