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Baseball Yankees pitcher James Paxton dealing with knee issue as Didi Gregorius eyes June return

Paxton has not pitched for the Yankees since May 3.

Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

New York Yankees pitcher James Paxton still has discomfort in his ailing left knee and shortstop Didi Gregorius planned to start a minor league injury rehabilitation assignment that Saturday that has him returning to the big league team by mid-June.

Paxton allowed one hit in four innings and struck out seven against Detroit in extended spring training on Friday. He has not pitched for the Yankees since May 3.

“I felt it a little bit, but I still was able to make my pitches, which is what I wanted to see,” Paxton said.

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Paxton had a cortisone shot on May 4.

“If I come in tomorrow with more pain than I had walking in today, then we’ll have to do something,” Paxton added. “But, if I come in tomorrow and it feels the same as it did walking in today, then that’s just how I’m going to have to pitch for right now.”

Paxton threw 42 of 55 pitches for strikes.

“I executed pretty well,” Paxton said. “I was able to get my fastball inside.”

The 30-year-old left-hander, 3-2 with a 3.11 ERA in seven starts, is among three Yankees starting pitchers on the injured list, joined by ace Luis Severino (right shoulder inflammation) and CC Sabathia (right knee inflammation).

Gregorius, coming back from Tommy John surgery last Oct. 17, was the designated hitter on Friday in his fourth extended spring-training game. He is scheduled to start a rehab assignment Saturday night with Class A Tampa. Position players can spend up to 20 days on a rehab assignment.

“My timing is not there yet,” Gregorius said of his hitting. “But defensively I’m good. Arm and everything feels good.”

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Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki got nine plate appearances in his first simulated game since reinjuring his left calf. He has not played the Yankees since April 3.

Tulowitzki could start a rehab assignment next week. He continued taking grounders at shortstop, third and second, where he worked on turning double plays.

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