Yankees rule out key starting pitcher for at least 4-6 weeks

MLB: Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees, clarke schmidt
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Entering Thursday, the New York Yankees not only boasted one of the best starting rotations in baseball, but they were also on the brink of welcoming back Cy Young award winner Gerrit Cole.

The looming question was who would be removed from the rotation to make room for Cole, with many speculating that Nestor Cortes might be the one to step aside. However, the situation took an unexpected turn due to an injury to second-year starter Clarke Schmidt.

Schmidt, 28, had a challenging first season as a starting pitcher, delivering 159 innings with a 4.64 ERA. This season, however, he has shown significant improvement, boasting a 2.52 ERA across 60.2 innings, with impressive stats including 9.94 strikeouts per nine, an 84.1% left-on-base rate, and a 39% ground ball rate. He was not only excelling in his second season but was becoming a crucial component of the Yankees’ rotation.

MLB: New York Yankees at Kansas City Royals
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Injury Impact and the Yankees’ Adjustments

Unfortunately, as Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports, Schmidt is sidelined and won’t be throwing for the next 4–6 weeks. Manager Aaron Boone indicated it would be quite some time before he could return to action. This extended absence hints that Schmidt could be out for more than 1.5 months, allowing Cole to reintegrate into the rotation before Schmidt can return to contribute.

While it’s expected that Schmidt will return later this season, and the Yankees maintain control over his contract until 2028 when he becomes a free agent, the immediate challenge is his recovery and regaining his form.

In Schmidt’s absence, Cody Poteet will take over his spot. Poteet, 29, has a 1.50 ERA over six innings this season and has pitched 33.1 innings at the Triple-A level with a 4.05 ERA. Although the difference in performance is notable, the Yankees will rely on their robust offense and bullpen to mitigate the impact of this loss and maintain their competitive edge.

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