Carlos Rodon to start season on IL, latest hit to Yankees rotation

Marly RiveraESPN Author4 minutes read

TAMPA, Fla. — Carlos Rodon, the Yankees’ $162 million winter signing, will start the 2023 season on the injured list after suffering a left forearm muscle strain in another blow to New York’s starting rotation.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Rodon underwent an MRI Wednesday that showed mild strain to the left brachioradialis, a superficial forearm muscle — an injury similar to one he sustained with the Giants last year.

“The finding was somewhat, but not significant or serious,” Cashman said Thursday. “Obviously trying to muddle through things isn’t a good thing, especially at this time of year. If this was in season – pennant races, late in the game – he’s probably still going. He had that with the Giants last May and he didn’t waste any time on it.”

Cashman said Rodon will have a seven to 10 day throw break that will push him “back to April, time to be determined” and that all footage showed the left-hander’s ulnar collateral ligament was intact. Rodon was operated on by Tommy John in 2019.

“You just have to keep from looking at the calendar and force-feeding it and speeding up the process because you feel the pressure from outside that it’s a new organization, new fan base and stuff like that,” Cashman said. “[Rodon] understands that. He’s a pro. But like anything else, it’s human nature: “I want to get out there and pitch.”

“When I dealt with him, he said, ‘I dealt with this in May and it didn’t stop me.’ But it’s not May, it’s March and we don’t want to play that into anything else.”

Rodon said he was optimistic about the injury, particularly given that it surfaced in the spring, and indicated that if it had happened at a crucial time in the season, he would have punched through it.

“[Last year] it showed up in early May, the first time I’ve ever felt it in my forearm, at the top of my forearm,” Rodon said. “I’ve worked with some people, fortunately done some treatments. I woke up, it was my fifth day preparing for the pitch… and I felt nothing.

“Poor people can be so picky, so you never know which way it’s going to go. In May I felt good. I didn’t miss a start. It’s just a little early to throw things through now. …Like if it’s October 5th or it’s the ALDS, I take the ball and go to the pitch.

Regarding a possible timeline for the return, Rodon said he “hoped it would be pretty quick”.

“But as you know, some of these things take time,” he added. “I hope it passes quickly, but you know how injuries go – you never know what happens later.”

Rodon struggled with his pace in his spring debut last Sunday against the Atlanta Braves, allowing five carries with six hits — two of them homers. Cashman said it was nothing unusual for Rodon to be at “91-94 mph” on his first outing, but that the Yankees didn’t see any red flags back then.

“But now when you pack everything up and the recovery wasn’t there and now the picture shows a slight strain, it all adds up that maybe that’s why the day didn’t go so well,” Cashman said.

It was an uneventful spring for the Yankees through Thursday afternoon, when Cashman not only announced that his prized left-hander would start the season in the IL, but also revealed that assists Lou Trivino and Tommy Kahnle would also join him on the injured list.

Kahnle’s announcement was not unexpected as he had been dealing with biceps tendinitis. The right-hander is set to resume his throwing program sometime next week and is currently expected to be back sometime in April.

The news was more worrying for Trivino, who was diagnosed with “a minor elbow ligament sprain” which Cashman said will keep the right-hander away until at least May.

Last year’s trade deadline acquisition Frankie Monta was already missing from the Yankees’ short-handed rotation.

Montas joined the Yankees while dealing with a shoulder problem that never resolved, eventually leading to surgery on February 21. Montas will likely miss most of the 2023 season.

Domingo German and Clarke Schmidt had already been battling for fifth place in a rotation rounded out by Gerrit Cole, Luis Severino and Nestor Cortes and are the front-runners for Rodon. Cashman also mentioned once-award-winning contender Deivi Garcia as one of the pitchers who could make a name for himself and contend for a spot this spring.

“We’re going to find out,” Cashman said of the Yankees’ depth of rotation. “I’m feeling good with what we’re seeing so far from the guys down here and especially the pitchers trying to fight for the back end [Germán, Schmidt].

“At the end of the day, we haven’t lost anyone outside of Montas for any length of time. But it’s clearly not a good situation when you have a starter you’ve been relying on. But at the same time it’s March and it gives us time for it to heal and recover.”


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