The Yankees saw James Paxton return to the mound on Wednesday afternoon, and they couldn't have asked for a better outing from the big lefty.
Though he only went four innings, Paxton didn't allow a hit over those frames. He also struck out seven and walked two in his 66-pitch start.
It may have been a short outing for Paxton, but it was everything the Yankees wanted to see. Manager Aaron Boone was very pleased with what he saw out of his starter.
"It was really good seeing him back out there just pitching so well," Boone said. "[He] picked up right where he left off. Had good command and feel with the fastball. The slider-cutter was a really good pitch for him today and he was mostly real efficient."
The main thing to watch from Paxton today was to make sure that left knee wasn't bothering him. That is what has kept him out since May 4, so he made sure during his bullpen before the game that the pain wasn't there.
But he said there was no worry on his part that he wouldn't be able to return to his team.
"I felt pretty good the last few days playing catch. I wasn't really too worried about it," he said. "In the bullpen before the game, I was feeling for it a little bit just to see how it felt, but it was good enough and felt good to get back out there."
Paxton's stuff, as Boone mentioned, looked extremely sharp. That swooping curve was giving the Padres trouble, and it was only so effective due to his fastball location that was hitting its target on virtually every pitch.
With a no-hit bid in tact, Boone did think about allowing Paxton to go longer, but that was never going to happen. Making sure they ease him back into the rotation is key, especially with the way the bullpen kept the shutout after he exited.
"Small consideration to send him back out there for the fifth, but knew he didn't have much from a pitch-count standpoint left," Boone said. "But four really strong innings by him to kinda set the tone for us today."