3 questions Yankees have already answered at spring training, 1 they haven't

It's still, unfortunately, a mystery.

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Lingering Question: Can Yankees count on Carlos Rodón?

Until Rodón steps foot on the mound in the regular season, then rocks and fires 97 to the outside corner like we were promised (based on early spring bullpen work), this question will remain unanswered. And, even then, fans will demand a larger sample size, after being burned time and again in 2023.

Rodón's first season in pinstripes finished with its lowest moment; the lefty ace's turn in Kansas City, where he did not retire a batter and turned his balky back on Matt Blake, might've been the worst singular start in franchise history. Just when it seemed he might've turned a corner, too.

In an effort to live up to his long-term pact, he reported to camp in January, and his early side work portended a return to form. His first start of the spring didn't feature 97, but there was no reason for him to ramp things up unnecessarily; 95.9 MPH was plenty good enough, and his fastball had the requisite life to miss big-league bats, given proper location.

But that's what was missing last season. Even his "stuff" seemed to stack up, according to Stuff+, to with his 2021-22 Cy Young campaigns. Year-over-year, he was the same pitcher throwing the same pitches displaying vastly inferior command, likely hindered by his developing back condition.

As long as he makes it out of camp healthy and bounces back properly between outings, the Yankees should chalk that up as a win -- an appropriately low bar. But ... what happened during the live BP he threw on Friday, when four minor-leaguers homered off him in three innings of work? Was he trying to get the cutter right? Did his command regress once more? Was something bothering him that wasn't manifesting itself earlier in the spring?

Right now, fans have one positive data point, one strange one, and a whole lot of glowing reports from several weeks ago, all of which came across our desks second-hand. This powerful, looming question has not been answered yet.

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