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Carlos Rodón has no timeline to make Yankees debut after 'chronic' back issue diagnosis

The Yankees signed the LHP to a six-year, $168 million deal last winter

The New York Yankees' season has very loudly not gone according to plan so far, and now their shiny new $168 million pitcher looks to be even further from making his first appearance with the team.

Speaking with reporters Friday, free-agent pitching acquisition Carlos Rodón said he has been diagnosed with a "chronic" back issue and is scheduled to receive a cortisone injection next week, according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch.

When asked if a return in July is realistic, Rodón reportedly said he couldn't put a timeline on his rehab:

“I’ll get this injection, and I’ll want to throw as soon as I can,” he said. “Whenever my body tells me I can throw and everyone comes to an agreement that I can throw, I’ll start throwing. I would have thought I’d be pitching here for the club now.”

Another delay for Rodón is one of the last things Yankees fans will want to hear after waiting more than a month for him make his debut following the six-year, $168 million contract he signed with the team in December.

At the time of his deal, the 30-year-old Rodón was coming off a career-best season with the San Francisco Giants in which he posted a 14-8 record, a 2.88 ERA, a 1.028 WHIP and 237 strikeouts in 178 innings pitched. His 2.25 FIP and 33.4% strikeout rate both led all qualified MLB pitchers.

Injuries have always been an issue for the southpaw, however, and that came up in spring training, when he was sidelined due to a forearm strain, and again in April, when the back issue first appeared. Rodón opened the season on the 15-day IL due to the forearm strain and remains there.

Mar 5, 2023; North Port, Florida, USA;  New York Yankees starting pitcher Carlos Rodon (55) in the dugout before he pitches against the Atlanta Braves at CoolToday Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Yankees are still waiting on Carlos Rodón's debut. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

That's just one of the issues the Yankees are facing as they sit at 17-15, a respectable record in most divisions but currently good for last place in the competitive AL East. Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Donaldson, Luis Severino, Jonathan Loáisiga and Frankie Montas are all among the Yankees currently sitting with Rodón on the injured list.

Nearly every big offseason pitching contract has been a disaster so far

While the Rodón contract is obviously off to a bad start, it might be worth pointing out that he's not alone among pitchers who signed big contracts last offseason.

Here's the full list of pitchers who agreed to deals worth more than $40 million in the winter and how their seasons have gone so far:

It's never great when the biggest success story of the group has a roughly league-average ERA, especially when that group cost more than $850 million combined.