HOUSTON — Carlos Rodon’s jersey turned a different color Friday night with how much the Astros were making him work, his sweat drenching it from light gray to dark throughout the course of his outing. 

But the Yankees left-hander kept his cool in the biggest spots and came away with something to build off in his season debut. 

Rodon was in jams all night but limited the damage to just one run across 4 ¹/₃ innings, keeping the Yankees in the game before they beat the Astros 7-1 at Minute Maid Park. 

“Just going out there and competing,” said Rodon, who threw 87 pitches. “Had good stuff today but kind of all over the place. They made me work.” 

Four of the five hits Rodon allowed came with two strikes.

The other came on an 0-1 count. Aaron Boone pointed to Rodon giving the Astros too good of pitches with two strikes, but it didn’t ultimately lead to his demise. 

Besides working out of trouble, a positive for Rodon in his season debut was the life on his fastball.

He averaged 95.7 mph and flashed a fair share of 98s.

Rodon also mixed in 14 cutters, a new pitch for him this year, and used one to strike out lefty slugger Yordan Alvarez to escape a scoreless fourth inning after he had allowed back-to-back singles to open the frame. 

“I thought his stuff was outstanding,” Boone said. “They battled some tough at-bats. But because his stuff was so good, he was able to make some big pitches to get some big outs when he did have that inevitable traffic that was on there against him.” 

Rodon also changed his jersey after the third inning to get a fresh Yankees road gray, not the dark, sweat-soaked hue. 

DJ LeMahieu underwent a follow-up MRI exam on his foot bone bruise Friday, though Boone said he did not have the results yet before the game. 

The veteran third baseman fouled a ball off his foot on March 16 and initial tests, including an MRI, all came back negative. But as he tried to ramp up his baseball activities last week, LeMahieu was still feeling soreness in his foot. 

“There hasn’t been the improvement,” Boone said. “A lot of times the swelling can hide that kind of stuff when you originally do something. That’s the reason for [reimaging] — and I think it was on the books to do it anyway and then you can always cancel it. Because when he started to ramp up a little bit he wasn’t getting the daily improvement that we would hope, hopefully we get a better, clearer look this time and go from there.” 

Boone said LeMahieu threw and did some hitting off a tee on Thursday after a few days of just getting treatment, which the 35-year-old indicated had him feeling “a little better.” 

Jonathan Loaisiga threw two innings in Thursday’s season opener, but it remains to be seen how long he will need to be down before being available to pitch again. 

“We’ll have a pretty strict way of looking at it with him,” Boone said. “Hopefully the times we can shoot him like [Thursday] in leverage and get us four to six, maybe even seven outs at times, we’ll build in the appropriate amount of rest.” 

The Yankees acquired right-handed starter JT Brubaker and international signing bonus money from the Pirates in exchange for a player to be named later on Friday. 

Brubaker is currently rehabbing after Tommy John surgery, having undergone the procedure last April, and is reportedly targeting a return around the All-Star break.

The 30-year-old, who has a pair of minor league options remaining, is under team control through 2025. 

In 63 games (61 starts) across three seasons in the big leagues, Brubaker has posted a 4.99 ERA with 324 strikeouts in 315 innings. 

The Yankees can use all the starting pitching depth they can get after trading away much of it over the offseason, though they said leaving camp they felt good about the depth arms they have.

2024 © Network Today. All Rights Reserved.