A few starts before playoffs


James Paxton’s plan is make a couple of starts late in the season and be ready for the postseason, even though he has been shut down from throwing for two weeks after suffering a strained left flexor this past Thursday.

“I believe so, that’s my goal, to make it back before the end of the season and hopefully get a couple of starts in before the postseason begins,’’ Paxton said Saturday.

The rash of injuries for the second straight season hasn’t sent shock waves through the Yankees’ clubhouse, according to Paxton.

“We are a very deep team, I think we can handle this and hold the helm until postseason comes around and we should be getting guys back,’’ Paxton said.

James Paxton
James PaxtonRobert Sabo

With a lengthy collection of important names on the injured list, one of the Yankees’ healthy bodies is swinging a limp bat from a production standpoint.

Nevertheless, Aaron Boone has been encouraged by Brett Gardner’s at-bats lately — even if they didn’t produce many hits.

“If you look at his last two or three games, I think [the at-bats] have been really good. The last game against Tampa, I thought he got off a lot of really good swings,’’ Boone said Saturday, when asked if had seen enough from Gardner to continue to play him. “I feel like we have seen an uptick in the quality of his at-bats. He is close to busting out.’’

The improvement Boone sees with Gardner’s at-bats hasn’t turned into hits. In Gardner’s past seven games he is hitting .095 (2-for-21). For the season Gardner, who turns 37 on Monday, is batting .164 (9-for-55) with a .288 on-base percentage.

If the Yankees make up a game with the Mets on Monday, something that didn’t seem likely Saturday, Gerrit Cole wouldn’t start it. Regardless, Boone said his ace will face the Braves in Atlanta on Tuesday.

“If we are able to play Monday, we would still have Gerrit go on Tuesday to keep him in line and that would be his sixth day,’’ Boone said.

Beyond Cole, Boone was going to take advantage of at least three days off to figure out what his rotation, which doesn’t have Paxton, looks like.

“Even when we start back up Tuesday in Atlanta, we have an off day coming out of that,’’ Boone said. “We won’t have to make that decision yet, but obviously guys like [Mike] King, [Nick] Nelson who are stretched out and [Jonathan Loaisiga], we have a lot of people who can give us innings.’’

The Yankees held a work out at the Stadium on Saturday and will repeat the process on Sunday.

Having three Subway Series games with the Mets postponed is the second time the Yankees’ season has been paused by the coronavirus.

“It’s the world we are living in and we understand and certainly a little frustrating, especially when we haven’t necessarily been infected with it,’’ Boone said.

The Yankees had two games canceled in Philadelphia during the first week of the 60-game season and instead were sent to Baltimore after two days off.

“But that is the nature of this. Unfortunately it has happened to us a couple of times,” Boone said. “It doesn’t make it ideal, but we also understand we have to deal with it and have to be able to roll with the punches and that’s what we will do.’’

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