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Carlos Rodon strikes out first batter with Yankees

July 7, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Carlos Rodon (55) pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It may have taken longer than fans would have liked, but Carlos Rodon took the mound for the Yankees on Friday and picked up his first strikeout in pinstripes in a hurry.

With two outs in the first, the 30-year-old got outfielder Ian Happ to swing at a 97 mph fastball up in the zone for the final out. The at-bat began with a foul ball on a 96 mph fastball. Happ then took two pitches out of the zone to run the count to 2-1.

Happy couldn’t catch up to a 96 mph fastball on the inner half of the plate and fouled it off. The same happened on the fifth pitch of the inning, the fastball reaching 97 mph before Rodon finally got Happ swinging.

Rodon signed a six-year, $162 million deal with the Yankees on Dec. 21 after two straight All-Star seasons with the Chicago White Sox and San Francisco Giants. Over those two seasons, Rodon had a 2.67 ERA with 422 strikeouts and a 0.998 WHIP over 55 starts.

The left-hander entered spring training this year as the Yankees’ No. 2 pitcher behind Gerrit Cole but experienced discomfort during his Grapefruit League debut in March. After that, he was placed on the injured list where he started the year.

With Rodon in the rotation, the Yankees look to build on their solid start to the first half of 2023.

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