Yanks rotation handed another challenge as Schmidt (lat) lands on IL

May 31st, 2024

ANAHEIM -- The Yankees rotation responded to ace Gerrit Cole's absence by compiling a historic streak, one that has continued into this West Coast trip. Now, they must tackle a new challenge.

was placed on the 15-day injured list with a right lat strain before Thursday's game against the Angels, retroactive to Monday. It is the first in-season injury of the year to a Yankees starting pitcher.

“It’s definitely devastating,” Schmidt said after the Yankees’ 8-3 win over the Angels. “I’m probably having the most fun I’ve ever had playing this game in my career. Not only having success, but the team’s winning, the pitching staff’s doing really well and it’s just fun being able to go out there and compete every five days with these guys.”

Schmidt underwent an MRI on Wednesday that revealed the strain, according to Yankees manager Aaron Boone, who added that Schmidt will not throw for approximately four to six weeks. Schmidt saw Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Thursday in Los Angeles.

“Obviously, Clarke has been one of the guys that has been pitching so well,” Boone said. “It stinks for him, but hopefully we’ll have him down and get him on the mend, and hopefully get him back at some point.”

Schmidt offered a slightly more optimistic timetable, expressing hope that he could resume throwing in as little as three weeks.

Considering that Schmidt would then have to build stamina before returning, it is likely that Schmidt will not see a big league mound again until at least August.

Right-hander was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in a corresponding roster move. Boone said that right-hander Cody Poteet will be promoted to start on Saturday, when Schmidt had been in line to face the Giants in San Francisco.

Schmidt last pitched on Sunday against the Padres in San Diego, when he permitted two runs (one earned) and three hits over five innings in the Bombers’ 5-2 loss.

"It definitely came out of nowhere. My body's been feeling amazing so far this year," Schmidt said. "I definitely felt it early in the bullpen, but things pop up as a pitcher and as a player. You have small things that pop up throughout the season. Throughout the game, it was definitely there. But for me, it was one of those things where I felt like it was probably going to work itself out."

The 28-year-old Schmidt has compiled a 5-3 record and 2.52 ERA across 11 starts this season.

Behind Schmidt, Luis Gil, Carlos Rodón, Marcus Stroman and Nestor Cortes, the Bombers rotation has picked up the slack for Cole, who has yet to throw a big league pitch this season after sustaining a right elbow injury in March.

Yankees starters tossed at least five innings while allowing two runs or fewer in 16 consecutive starts, the longest streak by any Major League club since at least 1893, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. That streak ended on Thursday, when Rodón was charged with three runs in six-plus innings.

Cole, meanwhile, is continuing to make progress in his recovery. The right-hander tossed 43 pitches over three innings of live batting practice on Thursday in Tampa, Fla., and his next outing could come in a Minor League rehab game.

“That’s definitely a possibility,” Boone said. “We’ll see how he recovers now. I talked to Gerrit and it sounds like everything went well today. He was pretty pleased with his outing and how he felt.”