How Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton, James Paxton Are Progressing From Injury During Coronavirus-Induced Hiatus

Max Goodman

Since games were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, players across Major League Baseball are taking full advantage of extra time to rest and rehabilitate any injuries that flared up earlier this spring. 

For the Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton and James Paxton are perfect examples of finding silver lining in the novel coronavirus and subsequent hiatus to the MLB season.

Skipper Aaron Boone told YES Network on Thursday that both stars are progressing well and preparing to be in game shape when baseball resumes. 

Stanton was billed as "ready to go" by Boone last month after the slugger recovered from a Grade 1 right calf strain during Spring Training. Now, Boone is certain Stanton would have been contributing to the Yankees at the big-league level had the season started on time.

"Giancarlo is doing well," Boone told YES Network's Meredith Marakovits. "He's still reporting in Tampa and going through his rehab ... When we get ready to go, he should certainly be ready to be back and part of things."

The former National League Most Valuable Player had just two at-bats over the course of Grapefruit League play before MLB suspended the remainder of the spring schedule on March 12.

READ: Aaron Boone says delay to Yankees' season has afforded Aaron Judge's fractured right rib an opportunity to 'continue to heal'

Paxton has also taken several steps forward toward returning to game action over the last few months. After lower back surgery early in February, the southpaw has worked his way back to the mound, throwing over the last few weeks.

Boone was pleased with both the decision to have the left-hander undergo surgery this late in the offseason and the headway Paxton has made in his recovery.

"Paxton has done great, feel really good about the decision to go ahead with the surgery and every step of the way it's gone pretty smoothly for him," New York's manager explained. "I think he threw his fifth bullpen maybe the other day and continues to report that it's going well. Really encouraged where James is."

Paxton, who led the Yankees' rotation a year ago in strikeouts (186) and ERA (3.82), was initially set to miss three-plus months, making May the earliest he could return to the mound in games.

Earlier this month, pitching coach Matt Blake told reporters that Paxton is spending the hiatus quarantining in Wisconsin where he had began his throwing program – the first time the left-hander had tossed a baseball in two months. 

Other than Paxton, who appears right on schedule, these two Yankees hurlers are getting their work in as well.

Boone told Marakovits that he took a trip down the road in suburban Connecticut to take part in Gerrit Cole and Adam Ottavino's bullpen session on Wednesday.

"Physically they're in a good place as far as workload and keeping their arms going and putting them in a good position once we get going," the skipper recalled. All three live not too far away from each other and have played catch together on multiple occasions over the last few weeks.

Boone even helped Cole break in his new residence – a $5.6 million mansion in Greenwich – by filming Cole and his wife Amy play catch, while practicing social distancing. 

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