Yankees receive CT scan update on Carlos Rodon’s back injury

Carlos Rodon is training at Tampa, FL, during the Yankees spring training camp 2023.
John Allen
Monday April 24, 2023

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The Yankees have been firm in their belief that their big-ticket starting pitcher Carlos Rodon won’t have a major issue with his back pain, and fortunately, the results of a second CT scan came out in their support. The report says that there is no structural damage.

That’s good news, but Carlos Rodon’s Yankees debut keeps getting pushed back because his back has been bothering him on and off for two weeks. The starting ace was an All-Star for the White Sox in 2021 and the Giants last year. Last winter, he was a free agent and got a six-year, $162 million deal with the Yankees.

Carlos Rodon has a history of injuries

He was often hurt from 2017 to 2021. In his first spring training game, against the Braves on March 5 in North Port, Fla., Carlos Rodon gave up five runs in two innings and hurt his left forearm. The Yankees had a quiet spring until then when general manager Brian Cashman revealed that his best left-handed pitcher would start the season on the injured list. It shocked fans.

Carlos Rodon’s forearm problem went away weeks ago, but the back pain started after he started throwing to batters as part of his throwing routine.

Carlos Rodon had a practice session on Sunday. His next step, which will probably happen this week, is to throw a bullpen. After that, he’ll work up to throwing to batters and then make rehab starts. Before being taken off the injured list, he will probably have to throw in at least four minor league games every five days.

“Hopefully he continues with the throwing program throughout the week and hopefully the back continues to subside, but I don’t think it’s anything major structurally from the test,” manager Aaron Boone said before Sunday’s Yankees-Blue Jays game. “He hasn’t lost a lot of throwing time, so he should get right back into that assuming he continues to throw this week as the back hopefully subsides and the medicine does its thing.”

Carlos Rodon is training at Tampa, FL, during the Yankees spring training camp 2023.

A step to return

After an injury setback, Carlos Rodon takes a step toward making his Yankees debut. He and Luis Severino, who are both on the injured list, are still not in the Yankees’ rotation.

Carlos Rodon played catch on Sunday. This was part of the left-hander’s throwing program after he had a CT scan on his back. Aaron Boone said Rodon is still having some back problems, though they are getting better.

Before the Yankees’ 5-1 loss to the Blue Jays in The Bronx, Boone said, “Back-wise, he’s fine.” Carlos Rodon being able to throw on Sunday was seen as a “good sign” by the manager.

“Hopefully, he continues with his throwing program throughout the week and the back continues to subside,’’ Boone said. “But I don’t think it’s anything major structurally from a testing standpoint.”

The Yankees are waiting for Carlos Rodon to make his first appearance with the team. When he signed a big contract spanning over six years in the summer, there were lots of expectations. However, he hurt a muscle in his wrist during spring training and hasn’t been able to play yet causing expectations to fizzle out.

Boone doesn’t think Carlos Rodon’s back problem will hold him back too much because he should be able to move quickly to a practice session if the back problem doesn’t get worse.

“He hasn’t lost a lot of throwing time,’’ Boone said. “He should get right back into [throwing bullpen sessions] as soon as he can get through this.”

“He’ll continue to throw this week as the back [issue] subsidies and the medicine does its thing,’’ added Boone.

It hurts the Yankees

Without Carlos Rodon, Severino, and Frankie Montas, the Yankees are counting on pitchers like Clarke Schmidt, who started for them on Sunday, and Jhony Brito, who will start for them in Minnesota on Monday.

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Schmidt pitched badly in his first four games, but against Toronto, he was much better. He gave up three unearned runs in 5 2/3 innings. He credited the improvement to his thinking.

“It came down to mentality,’’ Schmidt said. “I wanted to be aggressive and on the attack, so I flipped the switch in my mind.”

He also used his cutter less against the right-handed-heavy Blue Jays lineup, allowing three hits, two of which were home runs.

“Coming up, I was always aggressive and a fierce competitor,’’ Schmidt said. “I felt I kind of strayed away from that the first few outings. … When your back is against the wall and you haven’t been doing your job, you can find ways to motivate yourself to go deeper into games and give the team a chance to win. I was [ticked] off I wasn’t doing it. I felt I could carry that rage into today and into the future and be on the attack.”

Harrison Bader (left oblique strain) went 0-for-3 with Double-A Somerset in his rehab game.

Oswald Peraza has taken over at third base and looks fine as the Yankees find inventive ways to replace the disabled Josh Donaldson.

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