Spring Training: Cole’s injury puts pressure on Carlos Rodon, latest start in loss to Red Sox offers promise

Carlos Rodon, player of the new york yankees
Esteban Quiñones
Wednesday March 13, 2024

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Despite adding yet another defeat during spring training, Carlos Rodon brought into question a lapse in what is expected 16 days before the start of the MLB regular season.

Fans, overshadowed by the concerning news about their top pitcher, also witnessed the Yankees being defeated by the Red Sox 10-4. The anticipated absence of Gerrit Cole for a period of 1 to 2 months at the start of the season puts additional pressure on the other members of the team’s rotation. Carlos Rodon, after a challenging rookie season in New York, faced additional scrutiny. However, in the last game, he offered a glimpse of hope that he could take the lead in Cole’s absence.

Rodon looks physically fit on the mound

Carlos Rodon during an Yankees' spring training game.

Carlos Rodon’s latest appearance raised concerns about his velocity, especially with his fastball averaging 93 mph. Despite Esteban’s assurances, who argued against emphasizing velocity numbers due to Rodon’s gradual history, there was a sigh of relief to see Rodon showing an increase in the speed of his pitches. Maintaining an average just below 95 mph and reaching a peak of 97 mph, Rodon’s fastball displayed a noticeable movement, making it difficult for Red Sox batters to make solid contact. His control was commendable, often hitting the upper and outer parts of the strike zone, resulting in swings and misses, along with some well-executed sliders. Although he conceded a significant error – a poorly placed fastball that Triston Casas capitalized on with a powerful hit to right field – Rodon generally displayed his characteristic dominance.

Throughout his appearance, Carlos Rodon relied mainly on his reliable combination of fastball and slider, with only a few variations of this pattern. By the end of his performance, the fastball constituted about two-thirds of his pitches. His performance reflected his classic style, ending with an impressive statistical line of four innings, one hit, one run, and no walks, along with three strikeouts.

It is noteworthy that Carlos Rodon appeared calm and physically fit on the mound, generating power with ease and demonstrating agility, as evidenced by his ability in three defensive plays.

Yankees' Alex Verdugo during the game against the Red Sox in an spring training.
Boston Globe

The Yankees took the lead in the early first inning when Gleyber Torres received a walk, stole second base, and was driven home by a hit from Anthony Rizzo down the line. However, Casas’ home run quickly erased their advantage. Nevertheless, the Yankees bounced back in the fourth inning, with Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton initiating a promising offensive sequence punctuated by a double from Anthony Volpe, resulting in two runs.

Subsequent pitching changes saw a drop in the Yankees’ performance, especially evident when players from the B team entered the fray. Despite some positives in offensive display, especially Rizzo’s three singles and Stanton’s double, the team struggled to maintain momentum.

The highlight of the game was Carlos Rodon’s promising performance, offering hope for his potential impact in Cole’s absence. Though overshadowed by Cole’s injury news, Rodon’s resurgence could be crucial in maintaining pitching stability for the team. As they prepare to face the Tigers, led by Marcus Stroman, the Yankees aim to bounce back from the defeat, albeit without televised coverage.

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