Yankees’ $162 million free agent finally takes positive rehab step

carlos rodon, yankees

The New York Yankees are gradually regaining their health, with Luis Severino returning from injury and both Josh Donaldson and Giancarlo Stanton nearing rehab assignments.

However, even with the improving health of the team, Carlos Rodon, a $162 million free-agent acquisition, is still grappling with a chronic back problem that required a cortisone injection to alleviate persistent pain.

Fortunately, the injection has eased some of the discomfort, allowing Rodon to make incremental progress toward his return to the pitching mound.

After an exceptional 2022 season with the San Francisco Giants, marked by a 2.88 ERA and 12 strikeouts per nine across a career-best 178 innings, the Yankees were anticipating an elite starter to complement Gerrit Cole.

The Yankees are hoping Carlos Rodon can continue making progress:

Before the Yankees’ Tuesday victory over the Baltimore Orioles, Rodon addressed the media, expressing a positive attitude and conveying that his recovery is progressing well, despite not yet fully recovering from the left forearm strain.

“It’s one of those situations where my throwing is gradually improving and it’s preferable to be in sight, rather than out of mind. It’s better to be visible and be a part of the team,” said Rodon prior to the Yankees’ match against the Orioles at the Stadium. “It’s not a pleasant experience, but I’m grateful to be here, to be a part of the team, and to support my teammates. That’s a positive aspect.”

In Rodon’s absence, the Yankees have leaned heavily on alternatives such as Clarke Schmidt, Domingo German, and Jhony Brito. Brito has been sent back to Triple-A and German is presently serving a 10-game suspension following an ejection for having excessive ‘sticky stuff’ on his hands.

Schmidt has struggled in nearly every performance, which has placed significant pressure on Cole and Nestor Cort├ęs to perform.

Commenting on Rodon’s injury timeline, Manager Aaron Boone emphasized Rodon’s eagerness to compete and contribute to the team’s victories. The Yankees are currently five games behind in the AL East but have triumphed in 15 of their last 20 games, thereby closing a substantial gap.

“I understand how desperately he wants to get out there. I know it’s tormenting him. He knows he was signed here to be a cornerstone of the rotation. So I understand how hard it is for him not to be out there. But we also want to ensure we do what’s right for him, and make sure that when he does return, he’s the player we expect him to be. Hopefully, we’ve now embarked on that journey.”

The encouraging news is that the 30-year-old pitcher has started throwing from a distance of 120 feet, beginning to intensify his throwing program. It wouldn’t be realistic to expect his return in the next few weeks, but it seems plausible that he could rejoin the rotation after the All-Star break.

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