The Mercury News Weekend
Rodón's first season with Yankees will begin on IL
Carlos Rodón's debut for the New York Yankees is going to have to wait.
The veteran left-handed pitcher will begin the season on the injured list due to a left forearm strain.
Rodón will be shut down for 7-10 days, squashing any chance he'll will be ready by opening day, New York general manager Brian Cashman told reporters Thursday.
The Yankees signed Rodón to a six-year, $162 million deal in the offseason to join a starting rotation that includes Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes and Luis Severino.
Rodón struggled in his first spring training appearance, allowing five runs on six hits in two innings of work against Atlanta on Sunday.
Cashman said Rodon's elbow is fine.
The 30-year-old is coming off a spectacular season with the Giants, going 14-8 with a 2.88 ERA in 178 innings while making the All-Star game for the second consecutive year. OHTANI DAZZLES IN WBC >> Shohei Ohtani hit a two-run double off the left-field wall, allowed one hit over four innings and got the win, leading Japan over China 8-1 on Thursday night in its opener at the World Baseball Classic.
The Los Angeles Angels two-way star struck out five and walked none in the Group B game at the Tokyo Dome. His fourth-inning double off Weiyi Wang gave Japan a 3-0 lead.
Ohtani retired his first 10 batters before Weiyi Wang's single in the fourth. Ohtani threw 32 of 49 pitches for strikes.
Before a crowd of 41,616, Japan went ahead in the first when the St. Louis Cardinals' Lars Nootbar singled leading off and loser Xiang Wang walked three straight batters, including two-time Central League MVP Munetaka Murakami with the bases loaded.
HARPER PROGRESSING >> Philadelphia Phillies slugger Bryce Harper joined his teammates at spring training in Clearwater, Fla. and hasn't ruled out being back by the All-Star break following Tommy John surgery.
“Things can change either way,” the two-time National League MVP Harper said Thursday. “It could be after. It could be before. But as of right now that's the date we kind of solidified. We're not going to rush. We're going to be smart about it.”
Dressed in red Phillies shorts with pinstripes and a white workout shirt, Harper sat on top of a picnic table outside the clubhouse.
“Just excited to be back out here, some sunshine and some warm weather,” Harper said. “Just really excited to be around the team again.”
Harper was hurt in April and last played right field on April 16 in Miami. He had surgery in November.
“Once I was done with surgery I took the time off that I needed to let it heal,” Harper said. “It's still healing right now, still evolving. Just trying to see how I feel each day and go from there.”
Entering the fifth season of a $330 million, 13-year contract, Harper is currently taking swings with a bat but not facing pitches.
“I've never dealt with anything like an elbow, so definitely it's different waters for me,” Harper said. “Just trying to take it day by day.”
Phillies manager Rob Thomson said Harper is making progress and added hitting off a tee on Thursday. Harper will hit every other day for the time being.
Thomson added that Harper probably won't take batting practice before spring training ends.
“You've got a lot of steps to go through,” Thomson said. “It's just how he progresses through this, his stages. We're going to take it slow with him. Obviously, he's a great player and we want him back 100%.”
Harper had a plateletrich plasma injection on his elbow in May and became a full-time designated hitter to finish the season, helping lead the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009. They lost to Houston in six games.
WACHA DEBUTS FOR PADRES >> Michael Wacha was one of the last pitchers on the free-agent market this offseason, but the contract was well worth the wait for the veteran pitcher.
Wacha signed last month with the San Diego Padres for a guaranteed $26 million over four years. Depending on bonuses and player or team options, the deal could be worth $39 million over three years.
Despite the delay, Wacha looks ready as ever, pitching three innings on Thursday in Peoria, Ariz. against the Cleveland Guardians, giving up two unearned runs.
“This is my 10th spring training, I've kind of gotten it figured out,” Wacha said after his outing. “Obviously over the years there have been some tweaks here and there, but even (before signing) I was continuing to do that.”
Wacha gave up three hits and struck out two, and the runs were unearned because of his own error covering first base while receiving a throw from first baseman Matt Carpenter, who was also his teammate with St. Louis.
“If I would have caught it clean the first time, I would have had it,” Wacha said. “I thought I made a decent recovery. But it's all good.”
Wacha, 31, was 11-2 with a 3.32 ERA in 23 starts for Boston last year. Besides the Cardinals, he has pitched for the New York Mets and Tampa Bay.
With the Padres, he joins a crowded rotation that includes lefty Blake Snell and fellow right-handers Joe Musgrove, Yu Darvish, Nick Martinez and Seth Lugo.
“I feel like I'm in a great spot, right on schedule for whenever that first start is.”