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Kim Klement | USA TODAY Sports

Everyone was pumped when the Yankees landed Carlos Rodon on a six-year, $162 million contract. The excitement to watch him don the pinstripes at Yankee Stadium only increased upon hearing him at his introductory press conference.

And then, the injury bug hit. After just two innings in spring training, he was sidelined with a left forearm strain. Once he began building himself back up during rehab, his back started barking. The word “chronic” was even thrown around when discussing it.

There was also a rumor circulating that Rodon may not take the mound for New York at all in 2023. However, his wife, Ashley, called “bulls–t” on that. Most recently, Rodon received a cortisone shot on Tuesday, which was to be immediately followed by 48 hours of doing nothing.

Now that this period has passed, Jon Heyman of the New York Post is reporting that the Yankees hope their left-hander can start throwing off flat ground again on Friday. If there are no major setbacks once he re-starts throwing, he could return to the big leagues sometime around June 23rd.

If that can happen, it’ll obviously be a huge development for New York. Once he signed on the dotted line, just about everyone had been dreaming about him teaming up with Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortes.

Injuries have been a theme of 2023 for the Yankees. They did get a little healthier this week by welcoming back Aaron Judge from the Injured List. Continuing to get players back on the active roster will be crucial for various reasons.

While the Yankees are 21-18, they’re still in the AL East basement and nine games back of the first-place Tampa Bay Rays. And if we look at their remaining schedule, it won’t be a walk through the park. The combined winning percentage of .522 from their opponents is the second-highest mark in baseball.

However, it’s worth noting that three other AL East teams rank in the top five for the toughest remaining schedule (Blue Jays, Orioles, Rays). And the Red Sox aren’t far behind, as they currently sit 10th overall.

But, I digress. The moral of the story here is the Yankees need Rodon back as soon as possible. If he can throw on Friday and start ramping up again, that’s good news for New York. The next hurdle will be to continue throwing — on the mound, and in games, even! — without any issues.

You can reach Matt Musico at matt.musico@xlmedia.com. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.