TAMPA — While the Yankees figure out who’s going to fill out their rotation in the absence of James Paxton, who will be out 3-4 months following back surgery, they will no doubt have an eye on Clarke Schmidt at some point this season.
The 2017 first-round pick out of South Carolina will be in major league camp for the first time when pitchers and catchers report next week.
“I just want to get that experience of being around guys who have been there and had success,’’ Schmidt said at the team’s minor league complex this week. “There’s not one person there that I can’t pick up something from, and I want to make the most of it.’’
The Yankees drafted Schmidt 16th overall, despite the fact he was coming off Tommy John surgery. He was limited to 23 ¹/₃ innings in his first pro season in 2018 and pitched 90 ²/₃ innings last year, as the Yankees built him up slowly. He finished the season with three solid starts at Double-A Trenton.
He dealt with some forearm tightness that Schmidt called normal in coming back from UCL surgery, adding that he has otherwise felt strong.