Yankees fans already knew that the team was going to be a tad shorthanded to start the 2023 campaign. No. 5 starter Frankie Montas underwent shoulder surgery, opening up a rotation battle between Domingo Germán and Clarke Schmidt, and with re-signed reliever Tommy Kahnle concerned about the biceps injury that has kept him out of action early this spring, he looked shaky at best for Opening Day, too.
But on Thursday morning, Yankees GM Brian Cashman announced a couple more injuries too, while also confirming that Kahnle would start the season on the IL. The biggest problem circled around the most important new player to join the Yankees this year: starter Carlos Rodón. The southpaw is battling a left forearm strain and will also be out of commission for the beginning of 2023.
Carlos Rodon has a left forearm strain, no throw for 7-10 days. Will start the season on the IL. #yankees— Brendan Kuty (@BrendanKutyNJ) March 9, 2023
Per Brian Cashman.
But that’s not all! Reliever Lou Trivino — who came over from the A’s alongside Montas in the somewhat unfortunate 2022 midseason trade for Montas — will be out for over a month and a half. He has a more serious elbow ligament strain and won’t be back until May.
Lou Trivino has an elbow ligament strain. Will be on IL to start year too. #Yankees— Brendan Kuty (@BrendanKutyNJ) March 9, 2023
Fun news dump, eh?
For the optimists out there, Cashman downplayed the severity of Rodón’s injury, noting that he worked through a similar problem last year without missing time and that it’s “not serious.” He felt something on a slider just before his exhibition start on Sunday, but an MRI on Wednesday confirmed that this injury is minor and that the UCL is intact. The Yankees could be simply playing it safe with Rodón after investing a six-year, $162 million contract in him this past December. As Kuty’s tweet alluded above, he won’t throw for about a week and a half and they’re eyeing an April return.
Still, while the lefty Rodón is talented, he has a checkered injury history with 2019 Tommy John surgery and other shoulder ailments, so you’ll forgive other fans for wincing a little about this news. He did make 55 good starts for the White Sox and Giants between 2021-22 after early-career woes, so hopefully this is just a speed bump with an eye toward ensuring he’s healthy for when it matters most (Rodón himself is certainly on board with that). As a personal policy, I refuse to panic on March 9th.
The Trivino/Kahnle news is also a bummer, though Kahnle’s was less out of the blue. Those are two arms who are expected to be a big part of the bullpen in 2023 and while New York is pretty savvy as an organization in churning out successful relievers, they will still look forward to the return of both right-handers. They were productive down the stretch for their respective teams (Yankees and Dodgers), and will be much appreciated upon regaining health. Shooting from the hip, it does seem like Kahnle has a solid chance to return not long after Opening Day; he just needs time to ramp up once his current 10-day shutdown ends.
Back to the top though, barring a surprise late spring addition, Germán and Schmidt now both have strong odds of joining the Opening Day rotation behind ace Gerrit Cole, right-hander Luis Severino, and lefty Nestor Cortes (who is on track to make the team after a hamstring scare that forced him out of the World Baseball Classic). As for the bullpen, Ron Marinaccio has to be a lock, and frequent 2022 arm Albert Abreu is in better shape too. Greg Weissert, Deivi García, Matt Krook, and former White Sox reliever Jimmy Cordero are in the mix as well.
Now, can the rest of the Grapefruit League season roll on with no further injuries? That sounds like a plan to me.
Harrison Bader is getting tests after feeling something in his left oblique yesterday.— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) March 9, 2023