James Paxton
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone doesn’t see a link between James Paxton’s awful first start of 2020 and the lefty’s injury history.

James Paxton didn’t last past the second inning of the New York Yankees‘ loss to the Washington Nationals on Saturday. Bombers skipper Aaron Boone immediately answered the first question that comes to mind when Big Maple falters:

“I am not alarmed. I feel like physically he is sound,’’ Boone told the New York Post’s George A. King III. “Just a matter of really getting his delivery and finding that click extending through the ball. That has been what he has been searching for these last few weeks.”

Paxton handed the Nationals three runs on five hits and a walk in one inning of work. He exited before retiring an out in the second frame, and the Yankees went on to suffer at the wrong end of a 9-2 drubbing.

Per King, Paxton’s velocity hovered in the 91-93 MPH range. That’s a far cry from his typical upper-90s radar readings.

The 31-year-old southpaw is freshly recovered from back surgery, the latest in a never-ending parade of injuries. Boone’s spin might not be enough to ease Yankees fans’ fears that Paxton’s history is repeating itself.

New York acquired Paxton via trade ahead of the 2019 season. He rewarded them by starting a career-high 29 games, going 15-6 with a 3.82 ERA.

He came on especially strong in the second half, delivering a 10-2 record with a 3.63 ERA. The Yankees desperately need that strong output to bleed into a 2020 season reduced to 60 games by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paxton is at least mentally prepared to rediscover his winning form. He told King, “…I have to put this one behind me and focus on what is next.”

What’s next is likely a contest against Bryce Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies in the Bronx on Thursday.

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