The Yankees have 2 pitchers bouncing back big from injury

Syndication: Arizona Republic, carlos rodon, yankees
Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Entering the season without Gerrit Cole left the Yankees wondering who would step up in the starting rotation. They were banking on two primary veterans to rebound from injury and new free agent acquisition Marcus Stroman to rise to the occasion. That is not to mention Clarke Schmidt, hoping to compound his development in year two as a starter, and Luis Gil, taking over a starting slot after recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2023.

Despite the loss of Cole, the Yankees find themselves with a 10–2 record, displaying incredible resiliency and dominating lesser opponents. They will finish off a three-game series against the Miami Marlins on Wednesday night with Stroman on the mount, who hasn’t given up a run over 12 innings pitched this season.

The Yankees Are Seeing Momentum From Nestor and Carlos

The team is starting to enjoy the turnaround from both Cortes and Rodon, who have put together two strong outings in consecutive days.

Against the Marlins on Monday, Cortes was electric, collecting eight innings worth of success, striking out six batters and giving up just two hits. He had a perfect 0.00 ERA, 1.73 FIP, and a 100% left-on-base rate. Using his unique style, changing arm slots and velocities, Cortes was able to create massive deception and keep the Marlins batting order guessing.

On the season, Cortes has a 3.50 ERA, but his first two performances inflated that number. His strikeouts have dipped to 6.50, but his velocity is slowly creeping up. He is currently averaging 91.1 mph, which is 0.6 mph less than the 2023 average.

Cortes is still shaking off the rust after rehabilitating from a left shoulder injury that required ample service this past winter. Fortunately, he’s trending in the right direction, and the Yankees are ecstatic that they were able to get an elite performance out of him this week, resembling his 2022 All-Star version. If he can put together more consistent outings like that, the Bombers will be in great shape until Cole returns in early June.

On the other hand, Rodon is coming off a great performance himself on Tuesday night against Miami. The 31-year-old is bouncing back from a 2023 season that saw him suffer a left forearm strain, hamstring injury, and chronic back issues.

Rodon hosts a 1.72 ERA to open the year over 15.2 innings, enjoying an 89.1% left-on-base rate and 34.7% ground ball rate. Against Miami, he gave up two runs over six innings, both of which were unearned. He left the bases loaded for Ian Hamilton, who allowed some contact but quickly collected three outs to get out of the inning with minimal damage.

“A step in the right direction today, just keep going,” Rodón said. “Confidence is growing for sure.”

His velocity is ticking in the right direction, averaging 95.8 mph to open the year, the highest in his career, interestingly. With more velocity and accuracy, Rodon should make a full recovery and live up to the expectations that the Yankees had when they signed them to a six-year, $162 million deal.

Carlos was always expected to be the number two behind Cole, so now it is an opportunity to step up and help supplement his loss until he can resume his normal role.

The Yankees don’t necessarily have a top gun at this point, but they are committing to a team effort. With bullpen injuries mounting, they need their starters to provide at least six innings of work on a game-by-game basis.

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