Yankees’ Carlos Rodon wait gets longer

kim klement-USA TODAY Sports
John Allen
Wednesday May 3, 2023

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After signing a six-year, $162 million contract in the offseason, the Yankees still have no idea when left-handed pitcher Carlos Rodon will make his debut.

“He can’t get over the hump with the back, so we’ll have other people look at it,” manager Aaron Boone told about Carlos Rodon prior to his team’s 4-2 win over the Guardians. “He’s continuing to throw through all this to get to that place we need to get him to, and that hasn’t happened.”

Carlos Rodon uncertainty

Multiple times, Boone stated Carlos Rodon’s back, arm, and elbow all seem to be doing great. Back pain, though, is hampering his performance on the job and “preventing him from going where he needs to go.”

Carlos Rodon has had many injuries throughout the years. His shoulder and elbow have also given him trouble, and this spring, a strain in his left forearm landed him on the injured list.

The back pain eventually became sufficiently serious for Carlos Rodon to return.

“He’s just not moving how he needs to,” Boone said. “He’s a pretty dynamic, electric guy. That’s the hard thing. We have to make sure we’re getting as many eyes on it as we can to determine the best course of action.”

Carlos Rodon starts his first spring training game for the Yankees on Feb 05, 2023.

Even though Carlos Rodon recently threw on Monday, Boone revealed that the Yankees are considering pulling him from the pitching.

“We want to get him right and get the Carlos Rodon we know we’re going to get,” Boone said. “We’re confident we’ll get there. … More than anything, he’s frustrated. He wants to be here. He wants to be on the mound.”

As long as Carlos Rodon and Luis Severino (right lat strain) remain on the disabled list, the Yankees’ starting depth will be put to the test. Clarke Schmidt has struggled so far this year, but pitching coach Matt Blake has given him the green light to make Wednesday’s start.

“He’s got good enough stuff to be a starter in this league,” Blake said. “It would be easier to put him in the pen, but he has the capability of being a starter, and we’re limited with depth options. He’s got to execute at a high level.”

The Yankees injury concern

So far this season, Schmidt has struggled mightily when facing left-handed hitters. He has allowed them to achieve an OPS of .811.

“We try to make sure he’s missing in good areas in tougher parts of the lineup, especially with lefties,” Blake said. “He has to hone in on his command. We feel good about most of his outings, and then he goes through a spell that results in a home run or two.”

Schmidt has allowed 2.5 home runs per nine innings thus far in his career. His WHIP of 1.680 is also concerning. The Yankees, though, are pleased with his decreased strikeout rate. They, too, are stuck with few options, as Blake pointed out. Rodon and Severino are out of the game.

Unfortunately, the Yankees have traded away a lot of their pitching depth over the past two years, so they won’t have much help from the minors while Frankie Montas is out for at least the majority of the year.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa‘s role, according to Boone, will “evolve” after Harrison Bader returns from a pulled oblique.

Boone noted that Kiner-Falefa, who didn’t play on Tuesday, would get less time in center field but will still see action in left field, “spelling” teammates in the infield, pinch-hitting against a lefty, and maybe even running the bases.

Catcher Ben Rortvedt, who underwent surgery for a left shoulder aneurysm, has been moved from the Double-A team Somerset to the Triple-A team Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Meanwhile, another promising catcher, Austin Wells, who is recovering from a rib injury, has been transferred from the Low-A team Tampa to Somerset.

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