Yankees Spring Training Update: Tommy Kahnle injury, Clarke Schmidt, Anthony Volpe

Yay, another injury!

Feb 15, 2024; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Tommy Kahnle (41) throws during spring
Feb 15, 2024; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Tommy Kahnle (41) throws during spring / Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
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New York Yankees fans can only be so confident in the team's ability to replicate competent bullpen arms because ... when does the well run dry? Not only did the team lose a number of players to free agency, but they're dealing with early injuries in spring training.

Tommy Kahnle -- sadly, unsurprisingly -- is the latest. Scott Effross' unreported back surgery blindsided everyone when the Yanks arrived at camp. But now Kahnle is off to a delayed start because of a shoulder injury that ended his 2023 season.

The right-hander has been unable to shake injuries ever since undergoing Tommy John surgery back in 2020. Since the start of that year, Kahnle's pitched in just 56 games after being delayed by forearm, elbow and shoulder ailments.

Though the Yankees have gotten the best out of Kahnle (the Dodgers ended up paying for his rehab and getting burned), his on-and-off availability has been a killer. This year he's the most experienced reliever in New York's bullpen, which was supposed to be boost, but if he's injured or away from the team rehabbing, he'll be of little use.

It's yet another inexplicable Yankees injury situation. Kahnle was shut down at the end of 2023 to ensure the shoulder inflammation wouldn't worsen during a lost season and impact 2024, but here we are.

Yankees Spring Training Update: Tommy Kahnle injury, Clarke Schmidt, Anthony Volpe

Done here, time for better news.

On Monday night, Clarke Schmidt dazzled with four scoreless innings of work and put his new split-flinger changeup on display. Though he only struck out one batter, he allowed just one hit and was incredibly effective. He tossed just 44 pitches and didn't get himself into a single three-ball count.

This is the exact growth Yankees fans were hoping to see from Schmidt after the 2023 season. The right-hander had a good showing in his first full season as an MLB starter, but he had his ups and downs. If Schmidt can maintain a semblance of consistency as the team's No. 5 starter, this rotation will be among the deepest in the league (if it can stay healthy, of course).

On the offensive side of the ball, we already touched on this, but it's worth magnifying further. Anthony Volpe is hitting .400 with a 1.038 OPS. He only has two extra-base hits in 15 at-bats, but his swing changes have made a discernible difference.

Volpe's mechanics have simplified. His swing plane has leveled. His leg kick and hand coil are much less exaggerated. And it's resulted in a more effortless stroke. He's hitting the ball to all fields in what appears to be a much-needed adjustment for 2024.

In 2023, it felt like Volpe was selling out for power and looking to get under every pitch. Was it Dillon Lawson's obsession with launch angle and exit velocity? We may never know, but Volpe's chicken parm meeting with Austin Wells and his tireless work this offseason have brought us here.

Back to where we started! This is what his swing used to look like before he got closer to the bigs. Stop messing with your prospects, Yankees! You're breaking what's already fixed.

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