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Veteran left-hander James Paxton will make his Boston Red Sox debut on Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals, manager Alex Cora told reporters on Tuesday. Paxton's start to the 2023 season has been delayed because of a hamstring injury. 

Paxton spent all of last season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and didn't appear in the majors. Knowing this, the Red Sox signed him to a contract that paid him $6 million for that 2022 season and included a $4 million mutual option for 2023. Friday's start will mark Paxton's first at the MLB level since April 6, 2021, when he was a member of the Mariners. Thanks in part to the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Paxton has made just six big-league starts since the end of the 2019 season. 

While health and durability have long been concerns for Paxton, he's been effective when able to take the mound. For his career, he's pitched to a 3.59 ERA (114 ERA+) and a 3.60 K/BB ratio across parts of nine big-league seasons. In 2023, Paxton has made five minor-league rehab starts and one relief appearance, putting up a 6.65 ERA. 

The Red Sox enter Tuesday's match-up with the Braves with a better-than-expected 21-15 record on the season. However, they've succeeded in spite of the rotation thus far. Right now, the Red Sox rank 27th in MLB with a starters' ERA of 5.89. The hope is that Paxton's return will provide improvement on that front.