Yankees’ Clarke Schmidt continues strong start to spring with efficient outing

Yankees right-hander Clarke Schmidt has gotten off to a really strong start in spring training.

Schmidt allowed one run on two hits over his first two exhibition innings last week against the Rays, and he returned to the mound on Monday night and was able to put together an even more impressive outing.

The 28-year-old was extremely efficient all night as he threw 44 pitches, 34 of which were strikes, and didn’t induce a three-ball count across four scoreless innings in the Yankees’ 3-2 win over the Marlins.

Schmidt allowed just one hit, struck out one, and he leaned on a heavy sinker/cutter mix to help him generate seven whiffs in the outings.

After breezing through the first two innings on just 13 pitches with some help from a slick Anthony Volpe double play, he worked around an error in the third and returned to finish his night with a strong fourth inning of work.

The righty was originally expected to throw just three innings, but his efficiency allowed Yankees skipper Aaron Boone to stretch him out to four.

“Clarke was great,” Boone said postgame. “We got a good look sitting that close and his stuff was really good tonight. We were hoping to have him go three, but he was so efficient we wanted to make sure he got his work in.

“He had a little bit of everything going for him tonight. The cutter was a really good pitch for him, I thought he spun it well and he was really filling up the zone. It was good to see him have that kind of outing and get four innings in.”

Schmidt received his first full-time opportunity in the Yankees’ rotation last season and he went through his fair share of ups and downs, posting a 4.64 ERA and 1.35 WHIP while striking out 149 batters across 33 outings.

With rumors swirling around last year’s National League Cy Young award winner Blake Snell, who remains unsigned, the righty has responded by allowing just one run over his first six spring innings.

Whether the Yanks end up adding the crafty southpaw or not, Schmidt looks ready to make his mark in the big-league rotation this season.