NEW YORK -- On another day of bad news for the banged-up Yankees, New York said left-hander James Paxton had a setback in his return from a strained left flexor tendon.
Paxton felt sore after throwing on flat ground.
Manager Aaron Boone revealed the news as New York's homestand opener against Baltimore was postponed because of a forecast for rain and was rescheduled as part of a doubleheader Friday starting at 4:05 p.m.
"He won't throw for a couple days and we'll see where we are," Boone said.
Gerrit Cole and Masahiro Tanaka will start Friday for the Yankees, who have lost 15 of their last 21 games and entered Thursday third in AL East at 22-21, just 1 1/2 games ahead of the Orioles (20-22) .
Alex Cobb will be activated to start the first game of Friday's doubleheader. Rookie left-hander Keegan Akin is slated for the nightcap.
Paxton has not pitched since Aug. 20 and is running out of time to return in a regular season scheduled to end Sept. 27.
"I don't think he's reinjured or anything," Boone said. "I just think he's just a little sore from the volume of throwing."
If the Yankees reach the playoffs and Paxton is unable to return as a starter, rookie Deivi Garcia likely would challenge left-handers J.A. Happ and Jordan Montgomery to follow Cole and Tanaka in the rotation. The 21-year-old right-hander debuted Aug. 30 and is 1-1 with a 3.06 ERA in three starts.
Cole has lost his last three decisions and has not won since Aug. 14. Signed to a $324 million, nine-year deal this past offseason, the three-time All-Star could have have his following start pushed back to Wednesday against Toronto because of the rainout. The Yankees have a scheduled off-day Monday.
New York is also missing right fielder Aaron Judge (right calf strain), designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton (left hamstring strain) and third baseman Gio Urshela (right elbow bone spur) along with pitchers Luis Severino and Tommy Kahnle (Tommy John surgery). Right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga is also out with an unspecified medical condition.
The surprising Orioles, coming off a 108-loss season, have won four of five -- including three of four against the Yankees last weekend at Camden Yards. Rookie Ryan Mountcastle is hitting .383 with four home runs in 60 at-bats and young outfielder DJ Stewart has homered five times in his last four games.
"I like that we're playing games that matter late in the year," manager Brandon Hyde said. "I think that's how you improve. That's you grow character as a team, build character as a team. I think that's what you play for all year, is to play at the end of the season in games that mean a lot."
Orioles: Cobb has been on the IL for an undisclosed reason and has not pitched since Aug. 29.
Yankees: Urshela hit outside and fielded ground balls on Thursday. Boone expects him to be activated Tuesday, the first day the infielder is eligible to return. . Loaisiga likely will throw from a mound Friday. . Judge and Stanton are close to "going out and getting some at-bats," Boone said, and could return soon.
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