The New York Yankees are striving to climb out of the last place in the AL East. After losing two out of three games to the Tampa Bay Rays, they decisively defeated the Oakland Athletics on Monday night. The Yankees desperately need to sweep this series to boost their confidence and gain some momentum.
Following the Oakland series, the Bombers will face Tampa in a crucial four-game stretch filled with must-win games. On a positive note, the Yankees are slowly regaining their health, with Aaron Judge slated to return on Tuesday after recovering from a right hip injury.
Judge reportedly feels good, noting that the injury only caused pain when he was throwing the ball, not when swinging the bat. His presence will hopefully invigorate the offense, as the reigning MVP has the ability to change the game’s trajectory in an instant.
With Oakland possessing one of the weakest pitching staffs in baseball, the Yankees must capitalize and use this series as an opportunity to get back on track.
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The Yankees’ rotation is still suffering:
However, while the Yankees’ outfield is gradually recovering, their starting pitching rotation remains problematic. Luis Severino is working his way back and is expected to begin a rehab assignment on Wednesday. In contrast, Carlos Rodon’s “chronic” back issue continues to be a significant concern. Given that Rodon recently signed a six-year, $162 million deal, the Yankees are eager to get him back and find ways to manage his newly diagnosed injury.
A report suggested that Rodon might miss the entire 2023 season, prompting his wife to defend him on Twitter.
Recovering from a left forearm strain, Rodon’s return timeline remains uncertain. The stiffness in his back has caused location and velocity issues during pitching simulations. He is expected to receive a cortisone shot to temporarily alleviate the problem, but he may need them continuously over the next six years.
“It’s really frustrating,” Rodon said on Friday. “I want to be pitching for the New York Yankees. I want to be participating in this series and playing alongside my teammates. I want to be competing. It’s difficult to sit here and not be doing that while talking to [reporters].”
The Yankees were hoping to see the 2022 version of Carlos, who boasted a 2.88 ERA and 2.91 xFIP over 178 innings. He also recorded 12 strikeouts per nine innings, a 75.1% left-on-base rate, and a 34.1% ground ball rate. Ultimately, he was meant to serve as a secondary ace alongside Gerrit Cole. Instead of relying on him as a prominent arm, the Yankees are now simply hoping to have him back at any point this year.