Yankees’ Clarke Schmidt determined to beat medical forecast

Yankees player.
Sara Molnick
Saturday June 1, 2024

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Yankees pitcher Clarke Schmidt initially wasn’t too concerned about the soreness near his pitching shoulder he experienced during his start last Sunday in San Diego. Such discomfort isn’t unusual for pitchers and typically subsides within a day or two.

However, Clarke Schmidt grew increasingly worried when the soreness persisted through Monday and Wednesday, prompting the Yankees to send him for an MRI. The results revealed a lat strain that has landed the right-hander on the 15-day injured list, likely sidelining him until at least August.

Clarke Schmidt acknowledged the injury “definitely came out of nowhere,” as his body had been feeling amazing so far this year. He noticed the issue in the bullpen before his start against the Padres and felt it throughout the game, though it didn’t worsen. When the soreness lingered beyond the usual recovery period, he knew it was “probably a little bit more than typical.”

Reactions from Yankees starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt in the third and sixth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium, Apr 23, 2023.

After consulting with doctors, Clarke Schmidt was relieved to learn the injury didn’t require surgery. However, he was disheartened by the prescribed recovery timeline of no throwing for four to six weeks. The competitive right-hander plans on beating that projection, determined to return to the Yankees’ rotation as soon as possible.

Clarke Schmidt is eager to come back soon

Yankees pitcher Clarke Schmidt sidelined with a lat strain, approaches his recovery timeline with a practical mindset. The breakout performer, boasting a 5-3 record and 2.52 ERA in 11 starts this season, acknowledges the unpredictability of recovery projections.

Clarke Schmidt anticipates a reevaluation around the three-week mark, aiming to resume throwing within three to four weeks. While a four-to-six-week timeline for no throwing has been provided, he targets the earlier end of that projection.

“Timelines are funny,” Clarke Schmidt remarked. “They put a soft timeline out there, four-to-six weeks, but I think that’s probably the latter end of that. Hopefully, within three to four weeks, I’m back throwing the ball again.”

Navigating his recovery, Clarke Schmidt seeks advice from Mets pitcher Luis Severino, who faced a similar lat strain last season while with the Yankees. Severino, who missed the start of the 2023 campaign due to the injury, emphasized the importance of “nipping it in the bud and making sure it’s healed.”

Yankees' Clarke Schmidt pitches eight scoreless innings against the Twins on May 16, 2024, at Target Field.

Additionally, he consults with rehabbing Yankees ace Gerrit Cole, who has grappled with a lat issue in the past. The right-hander values “picking other guys’ brains” to gain insights into recovery processes.

As he aims for a return to the Yankees’ rotation, Schmidt leans on the guidance of teammates and opponents, determined to recover fully from the unexpected lat strain.

Yankees pitcher Clarke Schmidt finds the most devastating aspect of his lat strain injury in the extended absence from competing alongside his teammates during a crucial phase of the season. He acknowledged the setback as disheartening, especially considering his enjoyment of the breakout campaign and the team’s success. The starting pitcher lamented the necessity of stepping away from the camaraderie and brotherhood within the Yankees’ clubhouse and pitching staff.

Clarke Schmidt expressed that the injury was definitely devastating for him, mentioning that he was probably having the most fun he had ever experienced playing the game in his career. He noted that not only was he having success, but the team was also winning, and the pitching staff had performed very well. The Yankees rotation emphasized how enjoyable it was to go out and compete every five days with his teammates, describing the environment as very much a family and brotherhood.

Yankees pitcher Clarke Schmidt is readying to pitch vs. the Rangers in Arlington on April 28, 2023.

The right-hander elaborated on the close relationships forged off the field, likening taking the mound to “playing with family members at times,” intensifying the challenge of his absence from the team.

While acknowledging injuries are “part of life and part of this game,” Clarke Schmidt expressed frustration at letting his teammates down by not being available every fifth day, something he prides himself on. His commitment to giving the Yankees a chance to win has made the last strain particularly tough to swallow.

However, Clarke Schmidt remained resolute in expediting his recovery process to rejoin the Yankees for the stretch run and postseason, stating his determination to do everything he could to make the process quicker and get back out there. He expressed his desire to help the team down the stretch, win big games, and win playoff games.

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