Yankees’ $162 million starter takes big step forward in rehab

carlos rodon, yankees
Feb 22, 2023; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Carlos Rodon (55) during photo day at George M. Steinbrenner Field Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees invested $162 million in the offseason to bring aboard Carlos Rodon, hoping he would play a role complementary to Gerrit Cole’s.

Regrettably, injuries are a part of the game. Rodon grappled with a forearm strain during spring training, but a persisting back issue, labeled as “chronic,” has been the most troublesome injury.

Throughout April, Rodon felt discomfort in his back with every throw. However, after several setbacks, the Yankees’ left-handed pitcher now seems prepared to intensify his training and work towards his physical goals.

Rodon completed a 30-pitch bullpen session on Friday without experiencing any problems. This is a substantial leap forward for the Yankees’ starter, as the rotation could certainly benefit from the addition of a high-profile pitcher.

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The Yankees must be pleased with Carlos Rodon’s improvement:

During the session, Rodon cycled through two intervals, emulating the breaks between innings. His delivery results were promising: his four-seam fastball was recorded between 90 and 93 mph, a statistic with which the pitcher was content after the session.

The Yankees will now need to devise the next steps for Rodon. They might opt to repeat the bullpen session or have him pitch to live hitters. Nevertheless, Friday was an encouraging day for the former ace of the White Sox and Giants.

If progress continues at this pace, Rodon could potentially debut for the Yankees in July. However, this is contingent upon avoiding further setbacks, pitching to live hitters, and making two or three rehab starts.

Rodon’s return would significantly bolster the Yankees’ prospects, as he comes off a season with a 2.88 ERA and 237 strikeouts for San Francisco. Ideally, he would fit neatly into the rotation, following Cole and preceding Luis Severino, Nestor Cortes, and either Domingo German or Clarke Schmidt.