The New York Yankees are already fending off a number of injuries ahead of opening day in just about a week. The starting rotation has already lost two integral pieces, Frankie Montas and Carlos Rodon, their big free-agent expenditure.
Montas won’t return until August at the earliest, but Rodon has an opportunity to make his first start donning the pinstripes in April as he recovers from a left forearm strain.
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This is an injury that Rodon had felt late during the 2022 season but he wanted to manage it carefully.
“Overall, it feels like he’s in a strong spot now and whatever he had going in his forearm is resolving, which is good to see,” Blake said on Wednesday, via the NY Post.
The Yankees need Carlos Rodon to be 100% healthy for the duration of the year:
Rodon is coming off a phenomenal season at 29 years old, recording a 2.88 ERA, 2.91 xFIP, 12 strikeouts per nine, and a 75.1% left-on-base rate. He pitched 178 innings, just the second time he logged over 100 innings since 2019. Fortunately, the injury doesn’t seem to be anything too serious, but there was a legitimate concern since forearm trains can be a precursor to Tommy John surgery.
“Coming out of the Atlanta game, just felt like he was probably a little bit overheated on some of the sliders. So it was, ‘OK, now let’s back up and make sure we get this knocked out so it’s not just lingering into the start of the season.’ ”
Rodon projects to be one of the team’s key elements of the starting rotation alongside Gerrit Cole. Featuring Nestor Cortés and Luis Severino in addition, the Bombers have a strong rotation that could be one of the best in baseball if they can remain healthy.
Last year, Luis Severino pitched 100 innings coming off Tommy John surgery, and Nestor Cortés logged a career-high of 158.1 before hitting a wall of fatigue. Ultimately, the Yankees will need to find ways to mitigate said fatigue down the stretch to ensure their starters are 100% for the postseason, which is a priority.
Fortunately, Rodon will start his ramp-up this week, pitching his first bullpen since the injury. This should at least get him on the right track ahead of the regular season, hopefully making his first start late in April.