ESPN says Yankees’ season hinges on this player

The most important Yankee — at least according to ESPN — has yet to throw a bullpen this spring.

The Bombers’ season “hinges” on left-hander Carlos Rodon, according to the Worldwide Leader.

When they signed Rodon to a six-year, $162 million deal this winter, the Yankees expected him to pair with Cole to create the best 1-2 punch in the AL East. Now he’ll start the season on the injured list with a strained forearm, and Rodon’s health will be a storyline all year.

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Well, if it’s a storyline all year, the Yankees are likely in a bit of trouble. They cannot afford for Rodon to be in and out of the rotation for myriad reasons. But that would particularly hurt given the Frankie Montas debacle. Local baseball columnists will need to work overtime defending general manager Brian Cashman if two starters are effectively useless.

Some good news though: Rodon has been throwing and should be able to go off a mound in the next day or so. If all continues to go well, a May return would be realistic based on what the Yankees have been saying so far.

“Overall, it feels like he’s in a strong spot now and whatever he had going in his forearm is resolving, which is good to see,” pitching coach Matt Blake told reporters, via The Post.

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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.

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