Carlos Rodon, 30, the left-hander the New York Yankees paid big bucks to acquire, has been groaning with injuries since the first season of his contract. Just over a month after returning from the disabled list, it looks like he’s going to be back on it. 꽁머니
Rodon left his start against the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium on July 7 with a left hamstring injury in the third inning. He gave up five runs on three hits, including two home runs, with two walks in 2⅔ innings.
The Yankees organization said Rodon will undergo an MRI soon.
Trailing 1-3 in the third inning, Rodon walked leadoff hitter Jose Altuve and got Alex Bregman to fly out to center field. He then gave up a two-run homer to Jordan Alvarez to make it 5-1. Rodon got the next batter, Kyle Tucker, to ground out to short, but after throwing a four-pitch 96.6 mph fastball to Chas McCormick, he suddenly felt hamstring pain. He was off-balance, and the ball sailed high and out of the zone.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone and a trainer went up to the mound to check on Rodon and watch him throw a few pitches, but the condition was serious enough that he was eventually relieved by Johnny Brito.
“It felt like something grabbed my hamstring,” Rodon said. It cramped up, and it kept coming back. It’s gotten better since then, but it could have gotten worse, so I came down.”
Rodon donned a Yankees uniform last winter after signing a six-year, $162 million free agent contract. He was initially expected to form a one-two punch with Gerrit Cole to anchor the rotation, but a left arm injury in spring training camp sidelined him for the season. After more than three months of rehabilitation, Rodon returned on May 8 and made his Yankees debut in a start against the Chicago Cubs, but he hasn’t been able to regain his form and will likely end up on the DL again.
In six starts this season, he is 1-4 with a 7.33 ERA. Rodon said, “It’s really frustrating, it’s definitely not what I want. It’s frustrating and pathetic what I’m doing,” he said.
Rodon caught the “free agent bug” last year with the San Francisco Giants, going 14-8 with a 2.88 ERA and 237 strikeouts in 178 innings over 31 games. He pitched the most innings since his major league debut in 2015 and set career highs in wins and strikeouts, which led to numerous offers on the market. He hit the jackpot with his outstanding strikeout ability and reliable pitches.
His future will be determined by the results of his MRI, but for now, things are looking bleak.
Since returning, Rodon has averaged 95.3 mph on his four-seam fastball, close to his 95.5 mph velocity from last year. He showed flashes of his fastball, topping out at 98.8 mph and averaging 96.2 mph, but he gave up two home runs and five runs on five pitches as he struggled to get out of the zone.
Other pitchers who have been sidelined with big contracts and frequent injuries include David Price (seven years, $217 million-retired), Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals (seven years, $245 million) and Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox (five years, $145 million). You could probably throw Rodon into the mix here.