After undergoing surgery to remove a peridiscal cyst earlier this month, James Paxton will begin the season on the Yankees' injured list.
The left-hander is expected to miss 3-4 months, but said on Saturday that he's optimistic he's going to have a quick recovery.
"It's all going to depend on how things go in this rehab process," Paxton said. "They told me 4-6 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 some time in May."
Paxton detailed what was a painful and grueling offseason in which it was tough to pinpoint why he was feeling the discomfort he was going through, and explained why he and the team waited as long as they did to go ahead with the surgery.
"We were trying to figure out what it was," Paxton said. "The MRI didn't show anything, so that was kind of the hard part. We were treating areas that made sense with the pain I was getting. Then we had to get a second opinion, we did some new exams, and that showed the cyst. But where the cyst was didn't make sense with the pain I was getting down my leg."
"But it turns out I'm just wired differently than most. Even the doctors were perplexed as to what was going on. Then we did the injection and waited two weeks to see if the injection would take care of it. For me, it helped, but it didn't get me all the way back. So then we decided we needed to do the surgery."
The 31-year-old, who avoided salary arbitration by signing a one-year, $12.5 million deal in the offseason, is already feeling better since the procedure.
"I'm feeling really good right now," Paxton said. "The nerve pain that was there before isn't there anymore. Now it's just about getting my body moving again and we're adding new stuff every day."
The surgery and recovery is far from the ideal scenario for Paxton, but he knows all he can do is focus on what's ahead for both him and the team.
"Obviously, it's not what I want heading into the season where we're trying to finish the job and win a World Series, and also for me heading into free agency," Paxton said. "But I can't control that. I just have to do what I can with the situation that I'm in. I'm just trying to put everything I have into this rehab and getting myself ready to go for the team."