Finishing his ninth big-league year, Rodon knows better than to turn his back during a coach’s mound visit, regardless of his personal frustration level.
Had it occurred earlier than Game 160, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said that discipline of Rodon would be “possibly on the table.’’
But this wasn’t the first time Rodon’s actions have caused some concern for his new team.
Two months ago, at Anaheim, Rondon was taunted by fans above the Yankees dugout during an early exit, prompting the lefty to sarcastically blow a kiss toward the crowd.
Yankees address Carlos Rodon's behavior
In the first of a series of deep organizational dives to come, Rodon’s behavior was part of the discussions with Blake and Boone following Friday night’s first inning meltdown.
“It’s part of what makes him really good at times, and it’s part of what can undo him in certain situations,’’ Blake said of Rodon’s fiery nature on the mound.
“Just a fine line these guys have to toe when they compete at the highest level,’’ said Blake. “Something we’re constantly working on as a group and him in particular, knowing he’s got to set a tone for our guys, and some of our younger guys.
“We want him to have a lot of success and behave in the right ways and this is one we…wish we could have back.’’
Rodon, 30, would love to take back Friday’s 35-pitch outing, when he failed to retire any of the eight Kansas City Royals he faced in a 12-5 Yankees loss.
Carlos Rodon's low point in a lost Yankees year
His season delayed until early July due to forearm and back issues, Rodon finished the season with a boated 6.85 ERA in 14 starts – a brutal Bronx beginning after signing a six-year, $162 million free agent deal.
Who knew the low point would come at Kauffman Stadium against the 105-loss Royals?
“It’s not what you’re looking for or the way you want it to be handled,’’ Blake said of Rodon turning his back during a mid-inning mound visit and appearing to shoo him back to the dugout.
“But at the same time you understand what’s born out of a place of frustration for himself and the situation we’re in, so you try to take it all in perspective.’’
Late Friday, Rodon acknowledged that he’d been disrespectful to Blake.
“He was just coming out and trying to help and I was…just frustrated with the situation,’’ said Rodon. “It shouldn’t happen.’’
Carlos Rodon apologizes to Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake
Blake said that Rodon tried to seek him out after Friday’s game, but they didn’t connect until Saturday.
In their chat, Rodon was “remorseful, apologetic, obviously understanding it just puts everyone in a tough spot,’’ Blake said.
Boone said he had “a good conversation about a lot of things’’ with Rodon late Friday.
On the mound, Rodon might become too edgy and intense, “but there needs to be some awareness when you’re in that highly competitive mode,’’ said Boone, adding they’d discussed that previously.
“Look, what happened is not acceptable and something we wanted to make sure we addressed properly,’’ said Boone. “But we do feel like we’re in a good spot.’’
Addressing Carlos Rodon's lowered velocity
Rodon’s last previous outings were somewhat encouraging, but Friday’s noticeably low velocity was “a little surprising’’ to Blake, with fastballs in the 92 mph-93 mph range.
“Something we’ll definitely dig into,’’ said Blake, though physically Rodon insists he’s fine and even offered to pitch again Sunday if needed.
Heading into spring training, Blake wants Rodon to work on the consistency of his delivery in order to better command his fastball up and in to righty hitters and to spot his breaking pitches.
“Overall, (we’ve) felt he was tracking in the right direction the last couple times out,’’ said Blake. “Just want to see it sustain a bit more.’’
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Carlos Rodon apologizes to NY Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake