Yankees lose starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt to lat injury

Schmidt had allowed three earned runs in his past four starts

Yankees lose starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt to lat injury

The New York Yankees' starting rotation has the best ERA in the American League, but just suffered a setback that could affect the team into the summer. Pitcher Clarke Schmidt was placed on the 15-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Schmidt's IL stint is retroactive to May 27, which means the right-hander is eligible to return June 11. That will depend on the seriousness of the injury. Lat strains can be relatively serious. As's Randy Miller points out, Luis Severino was on the IL for two months with a similar injury in 2022.

In 11 starts this season, Schmidt compiled a 2.52 ERA with 67 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings and a 5–3 record. He last pitched on Sunday, allowing one earned run and three hits in five innings versus the San Diego Padres. It was his fourth consecutive start of allowing two earned runs or fewer, a span during which he allowed three earned runs over 24 2/3 innings.

Schmidt's success is part of an MLB-record streak by Yankees starters, who have pitched 16 consecutive starts of at least five innings while allowing two runs or fewer going into Thursday's matchup with the Los Angeles Angels.

Going into Thursday's game, Yankees starters had a 2.69 ERA, just behind the Philadelphia Phillies' ERA of 2.68.

The Yankees' rotation was shorthanded going into the 2024 season with Gerrit Cole shut down during spring training due to right elbow inflammation. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner hopes to rejoin the roster in June after three recent throwing sessions. If Cole doesn't encounter any setbacks, he could begin a minor league rehab assignment next week.

If Cole can return within the next couple of weeks, Schmidt's injury likely prevents the Yankees from facing a decision about who could be removed from the rotation. That is, unless manager Aaron Boone decides to go with a six-man staff in the short term.

Reliever Cody Morris was called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to take Schmidt's spot on the Yankees' 26-man roster. The right-hander joined the Yankees this season after six years in the Cleveland Guardians organization. In 13 appearances, Morris has a 2.82 ERA with 32 strikeouts and 14 walks in 22 1/3 innings.