Yankees Carlos Rodon Has Setback with a Back Injury

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Posted on: May 9, 2023, 08:37h. 

Last updated on: May 9, 2023, 11:56h.

New York Yankees starting pitcher Carlos Rodon began the season on the IL with a forearm strain. But a back injury has delayed his long-awaited season debut.

Carlos Rodon
Pitcher Carlos Rodon, seen here in spring training with the New York Yankees in Tampa, has yet to play for his new team because of a chronic back injury. (Image: AP)

Rodon signed a six-year contract with the Yankees worth $162 million. But the 30-year-old left-handed starter has yet to throw a single pitch this season.

The Yankees (19-17) were the consensus favorite to win the AL East this season, but they’re currently in last place in the division and 10 games behind the first-place Tampa Bay Rays (29-7). The banged-up Bronx Bombers have been ravaged by injuries to their starting rotation and vital position players this season.

Rodon’s Wife Fuels Controversy

In the first week of March, the Yankees shut down Rodon for the remainder of spring training because of a mild left forearm strain. Rodon indicated he could have played through the injury, but the Yankees wanted him to rest as a precautionary measure.

Initial reports suggested Rodon would begin the season on the IL, but he’d only miss a couple of starts and return in early April. A month has passed since the team’s projected return.

At the end of April, Rodon suffered a setback in his rehab with a back injury. He underwent an MRI, but the imaging came back clean.

It really sucks,” Rodon told reporters over the weekend. “I want to be pitching for the New York Yankees.”

Rodon will undergo a cortisone shot later this week. But the Yankees didn’t reveal a time line for when he’ll make his debut in pinstripes.

In a New York Post article, an unnamed source from the Yankees hinted the back injury could keep Rodon out for the remainder of the season. Rodon’s wife, Ashley, called the report “bulls—t” in a social media post. She considers herself a reliable source on her husband’s health.

Rodon admitted that he pitched with chronic back pain during his tenure with the Chicago White Sox.

“Part of the game we play,” Rodon told The Athletic. “For some reason, now is when it wants to act out.”

Mounting Injuries Contribute to Slow Start

Before the Yankees took the field on Opening Day, their pitching rotation was in disarray. Rodon, the projected #2 starter, began the season on the IL Right-handed starter Luis Severino missed the start of the season with a lat muscle strain. Veteran hurler Frankie Montas underwent shoulder surgery, and the right-handed starter is expected to miss the majority of the season.

Even left-handed starter Nestor Cortes, one of the unexpected stars from last season’s team, spent most of spring training nursing a hamstring injury.

The Yankees are eager to get Severino back on the mound. Since 2015, Severino went 50-29 with a 3.39 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. The team postponed Severino’s rehab start in Triple-A out of precaution.

It was unnecessary not to throw in Low-A, but I do whatever they tell me to do,” said Severino. “But I feel good.”

Aside from ace Gerrit Cole (5-0), the rest of the Yankees rotation (7-10) has been inconsistent.

Manager Aaron Boone had no choice but to insert right-handed  long reliever Clarke Schmidt into the starting rotation. Schmidt has been awful in his seven starts this season, with an 0-3 record, 5.83 ERA, and 1.70 WHIP.

The Yankees also lost four key hitters and position players to injuries, including third baseman Josh Donaldson (hamstring), designated hitter/outfielder Giancarlo Stanton (hamstring), center fielder Harrison Bader (oblique), and right fielder Aaron Judge (hip).

Bader missed the first 30 games before he finally made his season debut with the Yankees last week. Judge, the reigning American League MVP, returns to the lineup on Wednesday after a short stint on the IL.

Finding Betting Value in Last Place

The Yankees are gradually restoring their roster with healthy players, which makes them an attractive candidate as a value pick on the MLB futures market.

The Yankees slipped to +1200 odds to win the 2023 World Series. Before the season began, the Yankees were second cofavorites, along with the Atlanta Braves, at +750 odds to win the championship. The Braves are now the consensus favorite to win the World Series at +450 odds, and the Yankees are seventh on the futures board.

The Yankees were +360 odds to win the AL pennant in the preseason. But they’re now +600 odds after a slow start.

In spring training, the Yankees looked like the team to beat to win the AL East as the betting favorite at +110 odds. The Rays jumped out to a torrid start at 13-0, and they’re now the consensus favorite to win the division at -170 odds. The Rays are ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays (+360), Yankees (+500), Baltimore Orioles (+1800), and Boston Red Sox (+2500).

Even though the Yankees currently occupy the cellar in the AL East, Fangraphs projects the Yankees have a 65.3% chance to qualify for the playoffs.

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