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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 4/24/23

Rodón plays catch but still has a long way to go; Cabrera embraces multi-position role, Schmidt finds results attacking hitters

New York Yankees Pitcher Carlos Rodon Photo by J. Conrad Williams Jr./Newsday RM via Getty Images

NJ Advance Media | Randy Miller: New York had been on alert in recent days due to Carlos Rodón’s balky back, on top of his forearm injury recovery. This weekend represented a step on the right direction, though, as manager Aaron Boone told reporters that the southpaw played catch before Sunday’s game against the Blue Jays. A second CT scan on his back came up clean.

The left-hander is probably looking at a June return now because he still has to throw a bullpen or two, complete live batting practice, and go to a minor league rehab assignment. Like Harrison Bader’s current assignment with Double-A Somerset, expect such a rehab schedule to take a little bit longer than it normally would because Rodón’s spring training itself was abbreviated | Bryan Hoch: If we had to assign a single position to Oswaldo Cabrera, it’s probably shortstop. He is listed as such in most sites. However, he had a really good showing last season as a corner outfielder, is capable of playing a good second base, and also played some third base in the minors. He is the jack of all trades when it comes to defense for Boone and the Yanks.

The best part of it is that Cabrera is embracing his role in the team. “I love coming to the field, seeing if I’m playing a different position that day. I really enjoy that. It’s fun for me to be playing a different position all the time,” he said to Hoch.

When asked about which position Cabrera feels more “natural,” not even he could answer it. He said he feels “good” at second and third, while also mentioning shortstop. He appears to prefer right field, though, where he can show his excellent arm.

“I didn’t play this year yet at shortstop but I know I can feel good in the infield. At the same time, I can say right field is one of the most comfortable positions that I play,” he stated.

This year, Cabrera has appeared in second, third, shortstop, left, and right field. He hasn’t gotten going yet (47 wRC+), but he does have four steals.

NY Daily News | Gary Phillips: Clarke Schmidt took the loss on Sunday against the Blue Jays and allowed two home runs. Yet, none of the three runs he conceded were earned, as they were preceded by an Anthony Volpe error. In the end, Schmidt threw 5.2 frames surrendering the three unearned runs on three hits and a walk. He struck out eight and looked much, much better than recent outings, though.

Schmidt credits his improved performance to aggressiveness on the mound. “I wanted to be on the attack,” he explained. “So I kind of just flipped a switch in my mind. Coming up, I was always the aggressive, fierce competitor, on the attack at all times, and I felt like I kind of strayed away from that in my first few outings. So getting back to that was my main thing,” he said per the NY Daily News.

The Yankees certainly hope that Schmidt can maintain that mindset in his next outing, in what has been a rough start to the year. (Yet yesterday’s loss should be pinned on the offense coming up with absolute goose eggs against Kevin Gausman.)