Feb. 5 (UPI) -- New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton is expected to be sidelined for three to four months after having back surgery.
The Yankees announced that Paxton underwent a microscopic lumbar discectomy and also had a peridiscal cyst removed. Dr. Andrew Dossett performed the procedure Wednesday in Dallas.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told the New York Post that Paxton experienced back pain at the conclusion of the 2019 regular season. He initially responded positively to treatment before suffering a setback last month, according to Cashman.
Paxton exited his last regular-season start on Sept. 27 against the Texas Rangers after one inning with what the team called a tight left glute muscle. The veteran pitcher managed the pain and returned for the postseason, going 1-0 with a 3.46 ERA in three starts.
Cashman said Paxton hoped to avoid surgery by getting injections in his back last month but ultimately needed the procedure when the back pain persisted.
Paxton, 31, posted a 15-6 record and 3.82 ERA in 29 starts last season, his first with the Yankees. New York acquired him in a trade with the Seattle Mariners last off-season.
Left-handed pitcher Jordan Montgomery, who returned to the team in September from Tommy John surgery, is the top candidate to replace Paxton in the Yankees' rotation at the beginning of the season. Paxton is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2020 campaign.