Yankees pitching prospect Clarke Schmidt shut down with elbow injury

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Look away, Yankees fans. The injuries have already begun.

After being ravaged with injuries over the past two seasons, the Yanks were dealt another blow with one of their top pitching prospects in Clarke Schmidt suffering a “common extensor strain” in his elbow, manager Aaron Boone said on Monday afternoon.

"It’s on the other side of the elbow, which I think in the big picture is a good thing," Boone said. "His ligament, his Tommy John is intact and fine. But he is going to be shut down for a few weeks and just kind of go through range of motion things and make sure he’s symptom free before he throws again."

Schmidt underwent Tommy John surgery in 2017 when he was pitching in college for South Carolina.

Fortunately for Schmidt and the Yankees, the 25-year-old had an MRI that revealed no damage to his UCL, meaning Tommy John surgery won’t be necessary. Instead, Schmidt will be shut down for three to four weeks, per Boone. With the start of the season just over a month away, the injury likely takes the righty out of the running for a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Schmidt felt the discomfort after throwing his first bullpen session in spring training camp. He underwent the MRI on Friday.

Schmidt is entering the 2021 season as one of the organization’s top prospects, with The Athletic’s Keith Law putting Schmidt as the top prospect in the Yankees’ system, and 48th overall in his top-100 rankings of the entire league. He appeared in three games last season, allowing seven hits and five earned runs over 6.1 innings.

Follow Ryan Chichester on Twitter: @ryanchichester1

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