Yankees rotation takes first major hit post-Gerrit Cole as Clarke Schmidt goes down

You knew it was coming.
New York Yankees v San Diego Padres
New York Yankees v San Diego Padres / Orlando Ramirez/GettyImages

It was only a matter of time before one of the New York Yankees' starters went down with an injury. Pitchers have been dropping like flies this year, and the Bombers were already hit with The Big One when Gerrit Cole's elbow injury sidelined him back in March.

This time, though, it's Clarke Schmidt, who will head to the injured list with a lat strain. The Yankees announced the news on Thursday afternoon ahead of their series finale against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Schmidt last pitched on Sunday against the Padres and was dealt some poor luck after a Gleyber Torres error opened the floodgates in an eventual 5-2 loss. The right-hander allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits and three walks across five frames while striking out six.

Through 11 starts, Schmidt is 5-3 with a 2.52 ERA, 3.49 FIP and 1.14 WHIP. He's struck out 67 batters in 60 1/3 innings of work. Statistically, he's the Yankees' second-best starter behind Luis Gil.

But now he'll get a breather, as he was on pace to shatter his career high of 159 innings of work from 2023.

Yankees rotation takes first major hit post-Gerrit Cole as Clarke Schmidt hits IL

How will the Yanks adapt? Good question. It's kind of a miracle everything's been essentially flawless since Cole went down, but now the adversity will start to take its toll. The bullpen is inncomplete and will now likely suffer with Schmidt's injury.

But the Yankees have options. Sadly, top prospects Clayton Beeter and Will Warren won't be among them, as Cody Morris was recalled from Triple-A Scranton. It's also possible Cody Poteet or Yoendrys Gomez rejoin the MLB roster to take care of business for the Bombers over the next week and a half or so, depending on how Morris performs.

Morris has yet to appear for the Yankees, but he's 3-0 with a 2.82 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in 13 games (22 1/3 innings) in Triple-A this season. Earlier in the season, Poteet tossed six innings of one-run ball in a win over the Guardians, while Gomez recently finished a game and struck out all three batters he faced (both have been starters at Scranton, while Morris has mostly been a reliever).

Every team's pitching depth is tested at one point or another, and New York has already navigated its first major obstacle with Cole. How they handle Schmidt's absence, should it go beyond the allotted 15 days, will be revealing for their late-season ventures.