Andy Pettitte mentors Carlos Rodon, empowers him to adapt in a ‘tough place’

Andy Pettitte and Carlos Rodon

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Before the Yankees’ win over the Blue Jays, Andy Pettitte took upon the duty to throw during the team’s batting practice. However, the most crucial work he’s been doing is with a struggling left-handed pitcher, aiming to bring improvements to Carlos Rodon‘s performance before the end of his challenging first season with the Yankees.

According to Andy Pettitte, there are reasons to be hopeful, especially after seeing Carlos Rodon’s recent practice session and his performance in his last two appearances.

Andy Pettitte acknowledged that Carlos Rodon is facing a challenging situation due to his season’s performance and injuries. The ex-Yankees legend added that he observed one of Carlos Rodon’s recent bullpen sessions before the last road trip, which didn’t meet the quality standards as he was struggling with his control. He noted that Rodon showed improvement in his subsequent outings in Boston and Pittsburgh, which was a positive step forward. Andy Pettitte also appreciated the effort Carlos Rodon has been putting in.

Carlos Rodon has become a challenge for the Yankees

Carlos Rodon has faced various injuries, including back, forearm, and hamstring. This has contributed to his high 5.90 ERA, although it has improved slightly from his worst point this season, which was a 6.60 ERA, thanks to his last two performances.

Yankees starter Carlos Rodon is in action against the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Sept. 12, 2023.

Andy Pettitte desires to witness more such performances where Carlos Rodon finds his rhythm. Pettitte’s message to the Yankees Starter is clear. He should focus on maintaining good health and gaining more experience in the field.

Even though Carlos Rodon hasn’t had great outcomes on the field, Andy Pettitte has noticed some similarities between himself and the 30-year-old pitcher. Carlos Rodon has been open about his struggles and hasn’t avoided self-critique.

Andy Pettitte finds that the starter has a strong desire to excel. He acknowledged the challenging nature of playing in New York and how he experienced similar difficulties when he started here. The ex-Yankee appreciates Carlos Rodon’s self-criticism and the fact that he takes responsibility for his performance. He emphasized the importance of openly acknowledging when you haven’t performed well and not leaving it to others to decide.

Pettitte hopes Rodon to get back on track

Carlos Rodon will make an attempt to improve his performance with the Yankees when he pitches against Arizona this Saturday. In the six games he has started at Yankee Stadium, the starter has a high 6.59 ERA, and his performance on the road hasn’t been much better, with a 5.28 ERA in six road starts.

Yankees' Carlos Rodon starts vs. the Nationals on August 22, 2023, in New York.

According to Andy Pettitte, the starter has been struggling through it, and it hasn’t been enjoyable for him to pitch when he’s not at his best. At the same time, he believes that Carlos Rodon is eager to have more successful outings in the future. He tries to provide encouragement and maintain a positive attitude for the starter and his focus is to assist him in regaining his confidence.

Facing the Red Sox and Pirates, Carlos Rodon gave up four runs in a total of 11 ²/₃ innings, resulting in an ERA of 3.08. Additionally, he achieved season-high strikeout numbers in both of those starts.

Andy Pettitte is of the opinion that Carlos Rodon should focus on getting on the mound, getting comfortable with his mechanics, and discovering what works for him. He acknowledged that the Yankees starter seemed to have figured something out in his recent starts, resulting in improved performance. The legend emphasized the need for encouragement and support in a challenging game like baseball.

The disappointing outcomes have likely taken a toll on Carlos Rodon’s self-assurance. Andy Pettitte recognizes that perceptions in baseball can shift rapidly, and Saturday’s game will be Rodon’s last home start of the season.

In Andy Pettitte’s view, if Carlos Rodon goes out there, pitches well, and strikes out 10, he’ll get cheered by the crowd. He explained that he advised Rodon not to worry about all that.

“He’s been struggling through it,’’ Pettitte said. “It’s no fun, and it’s hard to go out there when you don’t have your best stuff. But I know he’s excited and wants to get more good outings under his belt.”

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