Yankees’ Carlos Rodon hits major injury roadblock

carlos rodon, yankees
Feb 17, 2023; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Carlos Rodon (55) throws a live bullpen session as he works out at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees were hoping to get back star free agent acquisition Carlos Rodon from his left forearm strain at the end of April, but that timeline has been moved back well into May.

Rodon was 100% healthy when the Yankees signed him to a six-year, $162 million deal, but it only took a few spring training starts to send him to the injured list, which was a major concern going into the contract.

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The Yankees took a risk with Carlos Rodon:

Ultimately, the Yankees took a big risk with the six-year deal, which baffled most general managers. However, after two successful seasons in which he pitched a minimum of 132.2 innings, the Yanks were confident that his injury problems were behind him, but they seem more prevalent than ever.

The left forearm strain was healing nicely, and Rodon was scheduled to start ramping up his throwing program ahead of a potential rehab assignment, but he suffered a back injury that has delayed his progress. While Rodon was able to throw his first bullpen session, he couldn’t get through the second one, forcing the Yankees to implement a CT scan.

Manager Aaron Boone indicated that everything came back clean, but he was still in pain and couldn’t throw. The Yankees will continue testing the back injury to determine the diagnosis and allow for better rehabilitation.

“Everything, structurally, with the back looks fine,” Boone said to the media. “The situation looks like more of a nagging, little couple-day thing, so he’s not going to throw for the next couple days.”

Rodon is coming off a 2022 season where he pitched a career-high 170 innings, collecting 14 wins with a 2.88 ERA. Rodon is known to be a high strikeout pitcher, posting 12 per nine last year with just 0.61 HR/9. He also enjoyed a 75.1% left-on-base rate, a 34.1% ground ball rate, and 2.91 xFIP. He also enjoyed his highest WAR at 6.2 in his career, with his second-best number coming back in 2021 at 4.9.

The Yankees have had to supplement Rodon‘s loss with Clarke Schmidt, Domingo German, and Jhony Brito. Other starters, notably Luis Severino and Frankie Montas, are still working their way back from injuries.

Severino is close to a potential rehab assignment, facing off against Harrison Bader this week in a simulated session. Bader has already started his minor-league assignment in Somerset, so the Yankees are getting reinforcements soon, even if that means Rodon’s timetable for return is delayed.