Yankees' Carlos Rodon says no back pain; still no return timeline

ByJoon Lee ESPN logo
Wednesday, May 24, 2023

NEW YORK -- Yankees pitcher Carlos Rodon, who has yet to pitch this season because of injuries, said he no longer feels pain in his back after getting a cortisone shot more than two weeks ago.

"The shots definitely helped my back," Rodon said. "I haven't felt anything since then."

Rodon arrived in New York to continue his rehab process after spending the first six weeks of the season at the team's player development facility in Tampa. The Yankees signed Rodon to a six-year, $162 million deal, but the lefty started the season on the injured list with a forearm strain. As his forearm strain healed, Rodon started feeling stiffness from what doctors called a chronic back issue.

Rodon, 30, played catch Tuesday from 120 feet and threw about 45 times, putting him a step closer to a return from the injured list. While Rodon progresses toward a rehab assignment, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said there's no concrete plan for the starter to throw off a mound yet.

"It sounds like he got the relief he needed and they worked and he does need to have the second round," Boone said. "But now it's the process of getting him out there, hopefully by week's end we're talking about a bullpen and then onward and upward."

Rodon deferred to the training staff in putting a timeline on his return.

"It's hard to put a date on anything," Rodon said. "I want to be back as soon as I can, anyway I can help. I want to be pitching."

New York also could soon see a return from third baseman Josh Donaldson, who Boone hopes goes on a rehab assignment as early as Thursday. When Donaldson returns from his hamstring injury, he will be the team's starting third baseman, Boone said.

Donaldson took batting practice on the field on Tuesday.

"We'll see how he comes out of today," Boone said.

Boone said designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton is inching closer to a return from his left hamstring strain, but no rehab timeline has been set. Stanton also worked out on the field before Tuesday's game against the Baltimore Orioles.

"Making sure he's healed and good to go," Boone said. "We'll see where he is after today."