James Paxton Has ‘No Doubt’ He Will Be Part Of Dodgers’ Opening Day Rotation

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

The Los Angeles Dodgers bolstered their starting pitching depth last month with the signing of James Paxton to a one-year contract for the 2024 season that contains a $4 million base salary, a $3 million signing bonus and incentives.

The left-hander was originally slated to receive an $11 million guarantee, but the Dodgers reworked his contract due to an unspecified health concern that was later reported to be related to his previous knee injury.

The 2023 season was a tale of two halves for Paxton, who carried a solid 2.73 ERA into the All-Star break for the Boston Red Sox before the knee injury limited him to only nine starts the rest of the way.

The 35-year-old admitted that fatigue set in as he was in the midst of his heaviest workload on the mound in four years:

“The second half, I started to get pretty tired,” he said. “It had been 2½ years since I pitched, and the innings kind of built up there. I was going pretty deep into ballgames there for quite a while and I just ran out of gas there at the end. Then my body started to bark at me a little bit, my knee and stuff like that. So I wasn’t able to execute pitches the way that I needed.”

Paxton has been throwing bullpen sessions in Spring Training and expressed confidence he will be part of the Dodgers’ Opening Day rotation:

Paxton threw a bullpen session during Saturday’s workout at Camelback Ranch and said he has “no doubt” he will be ready to join the Dodgers’ starting rotation to begin the season.

Paxton’s 96 innings pitched last year were his most in a season since 2019, when he threw 150.2 frames over 29 starts with the New York Yankees.

He made just one start for the Seattle Mariners in 2021 and did not pitch at all the following year while recovering from Tommy John surgery. While on a rehab assignment in 2022, Paxton suffered a Grade 2 lat tear that ended his season before it truly began.

James Paxton explains health concerns

Paxton recently explained that the Dodgers were troubled by last year’s right knee injury and any lingering effects from his prior Tommy John surgery that led to the restructuring of his contract.

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