Yankees: Carlos Rodon’s new timetable for return a crushing blow

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Mar 5, 2023; North Port, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Carlos Rodon (55) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at CoolToday Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Rodon, a left-handed pitcher known for his exceptional talent and resilience, is set to significantly impact the New York Yankees once he returns from his injury. Rodon’s experience, skillset, and competitive spirit make him invaluable to the Yankees’ rotation. His addition could provide the team with the pitching stability they need to excel.

One of Rodon’s most notable strengths is his diverse pitching repertoire, which includes a devastating slider, a sharp fastball, and an effective changeup. This versatility keeps opposing hitters off balance and guessing, making establishing a rhythm at the plate difficult. Moreover, Rodon has a proven track record of success, especially over the past two seasons, having demonstrated his ability to dominate lineups and rack up strikeouts easily.

Last season with the San Francisco Giants, the lefty recorded 12 strikeouts per nine and a 2.88 ERA across 178 innings, a career-high. He also posted a 75.1% left-on-base rate and gave up just 0.61 home runs per nine, good for a 6.5% HR/FB ratio.

Another critical aspect of Rodon’s game is his mental toughness. Despite dealing with injuries throughout his career, he has consistently bounced back, displaying an unwavering determination to succeed. This perseverance will undoubtedly serve him well as he rehabilitates and returns to the mound, ready to contribute to the Yankees’ success.

Rodon’s experience and composure under pressure will also prove invaluable in high-stakes situations, particularly during the postseason. His ability to maintain focus and execute pitches in crucial moments can provide the Yankees with the pitching consistency they need to navigate through the playoffs and contend for a World Series title. Of course, this assumes that Rodon can return to full health and stay there following the forearm injury and now back stiffness that has derailed his timetable for return.

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The Yankees are betting big on Carlos Rodon’s eventual return:

“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.”

Seemingly, Rodon has fully recovered from the forearm strain he suffered several weeks ago during spring training, but the newfound back injury is stopping him from continuing his throwing program. Luckily, Boone indicated that Rodon’s program isn’t far behind, but his new timetable for return is mid-June, well beyond the late May projection the Yankees announced during spring training.

In the meantime, Boone has been forced to utilize pitchers like Clarke Schmidt, Domingo German, and Jhony Brito. At this point, once either Severino or Rodon returns, Schmidt would likely fall back into a bullpen role.

Across 20 innings this season as a starter, Schmidt hosts a 6.30 ERA, a 63.6% left on-base rate, and 10.8 strikeouts per nine. However, he’s given up a 22.2% HR/FB ratio, suggesting that he’s better utilized as a short-term reliever rather than a starter expected to go 5+ innings. Given his longevity and stamina, the Yankees can utilize him daily, providing essential rest for other important bullpen pieces.