So it begins. The New York Yankees have reported to Spring Training and every fan, in the back of their head, was just waiting for injury news. It’s almost become an annual event of sorts.
In 2021, all it took was a week after pitchers and catchers touched down in Tampa to get our first dose of bad news.
According to manager Aaron Boone, Clarke Schmidt, who was in the running to either grab the No. 5 spot in the starting rotation or assume a middle relief bullpen role, is being shut down for up to a month due to a “common extensor strain.”
Thankfully it doesn’t sound too serious, but this is exactly why general manager Brian Cashman went out this offseason and stocked up on arms … because this has been an inevitability for over four years now.
Don’t count on Clarke Schmidt making the Yankees Opening Day roster.
Boone explains the ailment — of which seems fairly uncommon — in greater depth to ease fans’ nerves regarding the right-hander, but this is a hit to the pitching staff nonetheless since the organization was likely hoping Schmidt would continue to impress in Spring Training and compete for a roster spot.
Now, he likely won’t be making the Opening Day roster because of this timeline, and we can expect to see him in Triple-A when the minor league season begins in May.
What a bummer for the 25-year-old, who was hoping to put 2020 behind him. Due to the shortened season, Schmidt made his big league debut (appearing in three games) despite just three starts in Double-A for his career, but failed to make any sort of impact after impressing during Summer Camp.
Some would argue the manner in which he was handled wasn’t exactly conducive to his success, but let’s just call 2020 for what it was: a colossal wash.
Depending on what happens with Domingo German, this gives the true inside track to Deivi Garcia to grab that final rotation spot since Schmidt was expected to be his primary competition. Then again, someone else could potentially emerge, so it’s imperative to wait and see how everything plays out.
Exercising patience will be key for the 2021 season. We know injuries are going to happen and we know there’s a ton of risk on this roster. But as long as everything’s clicking once we hit August, and that continues through October, the Yankees will be in the best position possible.