James Paxton felt fine the day after throwing his first bullpen session since being shut down with left knee inflammation.
“So far, everything’s been great,’’ Paxton said before the Yankees’ doubleheader sweep on Wednesday at the Stadium. “It’s a good step in the right direction.’’
Paxton expects to throw another bullpen session Friday, but will leave everything beyond then to the coaching staff, including when he might come off the 10-day injured list and rejoin the rotation. Manager Aaron Boone said it is “not necessarily a rehab start” situation.
Paxton said he was encouraged by how he felt Wednesday, which he said would be a significant test.
“I was thinking I might wake up with some soreness, but I was pleasantly surprised,’’ Paxton said. “It was good news.”
He will continue to wear a knee brace until he knows his MCL is completely healthy.
“It’s supposed to support my MCL and hopefully it’s doing its job,’’ Paxton said. “Hopefully I won’t need it forever. We’re working on strengthening some things to support the knee.”
As for the discomfort he said he still felt Tuesday, Paxton said: “Sometimes when you come back from an injury to an area, you’ll think about that area and notice things you wouldn’t notice otherwise. Sometimes you do need to break through some soreness to get to the other side. I’m hoping that’s what’s going on.”
Dellin Betances threw from 90 feet in the outfield before Game 1 on Wednesday.
“He said it went really well and continues to progress,’’ Boone said. “I don’t know when he is scheduled to get on the mound.’’
Betances will extend to 120 feet on flat ground before taking a mound.
“So far everything has gone well and [Wednesday] was another good step,’’ Boone said.
Betances started the season on the IL with an impingement in his right shoulder.
The Yankees’ 3-1 win over the Orioles in the nightcap was their 12th win in their past 15 home games after they started the season 3-6 in The Bronx.
The opener was completed in 2 hours and 12 minutes, which was the team’s fastest nine-inning game since Aug. 21, 2014, against the Astros. That was a 3-0 win that required a 2 hours and 7 minutes. The nightcap was played in a crisp 2 hours and 29 minutes.
At 26-16 the Yankees are a season-high 10 games over .500. They are 10-3 against AL East teams. With a .769 winning percentage, they own the best of any team in its division.
Shifted to the 60-day IL on Tuesday, it is going to be a while before the Yankees see right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga, who is on the shelf with a strained right shoulder. Though Boone said Loaisiga eventually could help in the bullpen, the plan is to have him remain as a starter.
“The pitch package he has, what we feel is his potential, what would be as a starter,’’ Boone said of the 24-year-old who has a history of injuries. “We still feel like he has a chance to be a high-end starter.’’
In four games (three starts) Loaisiga was 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA with the victory coming in a three-inning relief stint against the Angels on April 24 in Anaheim.