Masahiro Tanaka Injury: Clarke Schmidt Needs to Take Rotation Spot if Yankees Veteran Isn’t Ready

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 06: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Clarke Schmidt #86 of the New York Yankees pitches during a simulated game at Yankee Stadium on July 06, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 06: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Clarke Schmidt #86 of the New York Yankees pitches during a simulated game at Yankee Stadium on July 06, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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Yankees prospect Clarke Schmidt should replace Masahiro Tanaka in the rotation.

New York Yankees fans were forced to hold their collective breath when video surfaced of Masahiro Tanaka getting drilled in the forehead with a screaming line drive off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton during a live batting practice roughly 10 days ago.

Though Tanaka’s recovery is going well, it’s unclear if he will be ready for the start of the regular season next week. The two-time All-Star hasn’t been experiencing concussion-like symptoms since being discharged from the hospital, but he also hasn’t pitched off a mound yet, either.

If Tanaka isn’t able to recover in time, Yankees manager Aaron Boone shouldn’t hesitate to call on prospect Clarke Schmidt to fill the 31-year-old vet’s spot in the rotation.

New York has an abundance of potential replacements for Tanaka at its disposal, but the fact of the matter here is that nobody has proved they deserved his spot in the rotation more than Schmidt. Outside of Gerrit Cole, no player has impressed more than the young stud during camp.

The only other realistic option is Jonathan Loaisiga, who actually pitched well during the initial Spring Training. However, he was late to arrive to the Bronx due to complications in returning from his native Nicaragua amid the global pandemic. That means he’s undoubtedly behind the rest of his teammates in terms of preparation for the upcoming campaign.

Furthermore, Loaisiga has struggled at the MLB level early on in his career. Across 24 appearances (56.1 innings), he’s posted a 4.79 ERA and a 1.509 WHIP. Why throw him into the mix right out of the gates this year, especially if he’s markedly behind the eight ball?

The fans are calling for Schmidt to get the nod, but this has nothing to do with appeasing their appetites. It boils down to the fact that the Yankees top pitching prospect has earned the chance to replace Tanaka, even if it’s only for a turn or two.

Read. Masahiro Tanaka's Head Injury is Cause for Concern. light