Yankees’ Carlos Rodon returns to mound for first time since forearm strain

Carlos Rodon was back on a mound Thursday for the first time since he was diagnosed with a mild left forearm strain on March 9.

The Yankees’ biggest offseason signing other than Aaron Judge threw a 15-pitch bullpen at Steinbrenner Field, using only fastballs and not going all-out.

“It was good,’’ said Rodon, who will start the regular season on the IL. “Just keep chugging along … week by week, day by day. It’s the truth, but that’s how rehab goes. It [stinks].”

As long as he feels OK on Friday, Rodon said he wants to play catch from 90 feet and then map out the following week, with another bullpen included — this time adding breaking balls to the mix.

Rodon made just one Grapefruit League start on March 5 and was shut down. He’s been throwing again for six days.

Carlos Rodon returned to the mound for the first time after suffering a mild left forearm strain.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

“The last few days have been pretty good,” manager Aaron Boone said. “That’s been encouraging as he’s gotten into his throwing program and how he’s bouncing back each day has been good so far.”

Oswald Peraza went 0-for-3 on Thursday while starting at second base and is now batting .171 with a .607 OPS in 13 games this spring. But his at-bats in a 1-1 tie against the Cardinals — particularly a hard flyout to left field — left Boone more encouraged than Wednesday, when for the first time this spring, Boone “didn’t feel like his at-bats were very good” against the Nationals.

“I think for the most part he’s been all right,” Boone said.

Anthony Volpe, starting at shortstop, also went 0-for-4 with a strikeout, though he worked a nine-pitch at-bat to lead off the game.

Giancarlo Stanton started his fourth game of the spring in right field, and it looks like he could be back there on Opening Day at Yankee Stadium.

“We’ll see,” Boone said coyly when asked if that was the plan, after saying that he would be comfortable playing Stanton in the outfield from the start of the regular season.

Putting Stanton in right field would shift Aaron Judge to center field, making up for Harrison Bader (strained oblique) starting the season on the IL, and open up the DH spot for Gleyber Torres or DJ LeMahieu.

Giancarlo Stanton bats against the Toronto Blue Jays during a spring training baseball game at TD Ballpark.
Giancarlo Stanton bats against the Toronto Blue Jays during a spring training baseball game at TD Ballpark.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa got another start in center field in a minor league game against the Rays and said he used the time to work on his jumps and decisionmaking from his new position in his attempt to remain on the major league roster as a utility player.

He expects to be in center again Friday, when the Yankees face the Orioles in Sarasota, Fla. at 6:05 p.m.

“I think that’s gonna be a good test for me, in the twilight and the high sky,” Kiner-Falefa said.

He’s also putting work in behind the plate, a position Kiner-Falefa hasn’t played since 2019, but wants to put back on his résumé.

Kiner-Falefa said he worked on his blocking and receiving after being fitted for his new equipment on Wednesday.

“I felt good,’’ Kiner-Falefa said of his return to catching, where he would only be used in an emergency situation. “Honestly, it felt like I never left.”

He credited Jose Trevino for helping ease the transition. The two spent time together in the Rangers organization when Kiner-Falefa initially moved from the infield to catcher and Trevino was with him on Wednesday in Tampa.

“He helped coach me through everything [Wednesday],’’ Kiner-Falefa said. “He knew the growing pains I had the first time and he helped me again.”

Domingo German tossed four innings in a minor league game and struggled with his command, with 31 of his 64 pitches called balls. He gave up six runs on four hits and four walks across four innings.

“He was a little erratic,’’ said Kyle Higashioka, who caught the right-hander’s outing at the team’s player development complex. “I’m not used to seeing him that erratic.”

German’s control was especially off in the second, but Higashioka was mostly unconcerned.

“That’s just something to get out of the way in spring training and I have all the confidence in the world he’ll be good once the season starts,’’ Higashioka said. “He’s typically around the zone all the time.”

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