Yankees' Clarke Schmidt Has Right Elbow Strain, Won't Be Ready For Opening Day

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The Yankees haven't even had their first full-squad workout of the spring yet and the injuries have already begun.

Pitching prospect Clarke Schmidt, who made his big-league debut with the club last year, has a strain in his common extensor tendon, manager Aaron Boone revealed on Monday. The right-hander felt discomfort after his first bullpen session of the spring last week and an MRI on Friday revealed the diagnosis.

"It's on the other side of the elbow which I think in the big picture is a good thing," Boone said. "He's going to be shutdown for a few weeks going through range of motion things to make sure he's symptom free before he starts throwing again."

Boone added that Schmidt's strain is on the anterior side of the elbow, assuring that the ligament that would require Tommy John surgery is intact. That's good news considering Schmidt has already had Tommy John in his career, back when he was pitching at the University of South Carolina.

"It's kind of an uncommon, usually you don't hear pitchers getting that," Boone said. "It's akin to a tennis elbow or something ... they think that's probably a three-to-four week shutdown."

RELATED: Clarke Schmidt Is the Future of the Yankees' Rotation

Schmidt pitched in three games last season, posting a 7.11 ERA across 6.1 innings. Although he's projected to be a starting pitcher at this level, the right-hander made his debut in a relief role, throwing 1.1 innings on Sept. 4 in Baltimore. He's ranked as New York's No. 2 pitching prospect by MLB Pipeline.

The 25-year-old was poised to try and pitch his way into the starting rotation this spring, competing for the fifth spot in New York's rotation with fellow top prospect Deivi García and Domingo Germán (among others). Now, with just about a month to go until the regular season begins, he'll be out of contention for an Opening Day roster spot. 

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