TAMPA BAY, FL– Start those engines in the Bronx; the countdown to Opening Day is officially on. As the facility gates of the New York Yankees Spring Training complex opened earlier this week with pitchers and catchers reporting, one of the pinstripes most prized offseason additions, Carlos Rodón, made quite a first impression on the mound.
The 30-year-old, left-hander, who signed a six-year/$162 million contract with the Yankees this past December, appeared firing away with splendid delivery in a bullpen session to catcher Kyle Higashioaka, yesterday Friday February 17th. He was also seen demonstrating some of that authentic bulldog mentality, all while becoming acclimated to his new teammates.
“It’s the New York Yankees, the name speaks for itself, it’s first-class everything,” Rodón said when asked about his first impression of the Yankees practice. “Everything is done to the best of everything. Everybody knows the New York Yankees, let’s put it that way.”
Well, let’s put it this way… if all goes right regarding health and durability, the Yankees are projected to make for one of the top starting rotations in baseball – Led by ace Gerrit Cole, with Rodón, and Nestor Cortes Jr., lining out the two-three slots, followed by Luis Severino, and Domingo Germán.
The former San Francisco Giant and Chicago White Sox, of Cuban-American family heritage, is coming off back-to-back career years. In 2021 with Chicago, Rodón was lights out on the mound, recording a 2.37 ERA, and 185 strikeouts in 132.2 innings.
For his tremendous efforts on and off the field, he was named the recipient of the 2021 American League LatinoMVP Starting Pitcher Award.
Then, Rodón shifted his momentum to the Bay Area, signing a one-year-deal with the Giants in hopes of raising his free-agency value even more (which he did) – finishing 14-8 in 31 starts while fanning 237 batters in 178 innings.
But, back to Spring Training and the preparation for Yankees Opening Day…
Rodón looked to be everything general manager Brian Cashman and New York’s front office had hoped for when they signed him – a bulldog-like competitor, who has the potential and skillset to help propel the Yankees to capturing their 28th World Series title in franchise history.
He worked on his slider, and general mechanics while throwing a live batting practice session against catchers Ben Rortvdet, Josh Breaux, Higashioka, and Jose Trevino, who Rodón was teammates with for Team USA in 2013.
Overall, he threw predominantly fastballs and sliders with a sudden mix of a changeup and curveball here and there, which estimated out to 30-35 pitches across two innings.
Rodón feels that he will truly settle into the pinstripes, when he’s finally handed the ball at Yankee Stadium. And it’s coming soon…
Opening Day is next month, with the Yankees set to face Rodón’s former team, San Francisco, in a three-game series, so start those engines in the Bronx, the countdown is on.
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