Apparently, it was the Yankees' plan all along for Carlos Rodón to try to get by with less in his spring training debut.
Unfortunately, the results didn't bring much joy or inspire the sect of people who have everything riding on how a $162 million man looks in his very first appearance in the uniform.
MLB.com Braves beat writer Mark Bowman's jab at Rodón's cost may have been tweeted in jest (may have), but that didn't stop a horde of other non-sarcastic Yankees haters from taking great glee in Rodón's 2+ innings, which featured a single and a homer in his first two batters faced and several smashes in a row to begin the third, a frame he exited without recording an out.
None of this mattered, even if Rodón was going max effort to prove his dominance to Atlanta coming out of the gate. Luckily, though, that isn't what was happening.
According to Rodón, the Yankees wanted him to go through the motions and keep his velocity in check before ramping it up in later weeks. They need him healthy for their opening series with the San Francisco Giants, which should provide a prime opportunity for the lefty to go full Man Beast and grunt/scream with every fastball.
Sunday? Not so much. He was attempting to sit 92 and had to continue to tamp himself down, even as Matt Olson and Austin Riley launched bombs off him.
Yankees neutered Carlos Rodón on purpose in his spring training debut
You know Rodón was especially bummed out by his (meaningless) results, considering how much the man loves proving Yankee haters wrong.
According to The New York Post, the Yankees watched through Rodón's last non-lockout spring training in 2021, before his season with the Giants, and observed him sitting at 92 in his first start. That was the sweet spot they wanted him sitting in, and after a few errant 93s in the first, Aaron Boone cautioned the lefty to stop exerting himself.
"After the first inning, manager Aaron Boone went to Rodon and told him to stop trying to reach for fastballs. The lefty obliged in the second inning and threw a 1-2-3 frame. But after Ronald Acuña Jr. led off the third inning with a double, Rodon felt tempted. 'I wanted to reach back and throw harder,' Rodon said. But I told myself to trust the process, I guess. But a younger me would have said, Eff that, I’m going to throw one as hard as I can right here. I’m glad I didn’t do that.'"- New York Post
We're glad Rodón didn't say, "Eff that" either, even though the output ended up unsightly.
Spring training isn't real. Jasson Dominguez won't be launching game-winning three-run homers in the ninth in the Bronx in April. Jesus Bastidas won't be coming through in the clutch. And Rodón won't be topping out at 92.
As long as the plan gets executed properly.