Yankees lose starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt to a lat injury.

The New York Yankees’ starting rotation, which boasts the best ERA in the American League, has encountered a setback that could impact the team throughout the summer. Pitcher Clarke Schmidt has been placed on the 15-day injured list due to a right lat strain.

Schmidt’s placement on the IL is retroactive to May 27, making him eligible to return on June 11, depending on the injury’s severity. Lat strains can be significant; for example, Luis Severino spent two months on the IL with a similar injury in 2022, as noted by NJ.com’s Randy Miller.

This season, Schmidt has made 11 starts, recording a 2.52 ERA with 67 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings, and a 5-3 record. In his last outing on Sunday, he allowed one earned run and three hits over five innings against the San Diego Padres. This marked his fourth consecutive start with two or fewer earned runs, during which he allowed three earned runs over 24 2/3 innings.

Schmidt’s performance contributes to an MLB-record streak by Yankees starters, who have pitched 16 consecutive starts of at least five innings while allowing two or fewer runs. As of Thursday, Yankees starters had a 2.69 ERA, just behind the Philadelphia Phillies’ 2.68 ERA.

The Yankees’ rotation faced challenges entering the 2024 season, with Gerrit Cole sidelined during spring training due to right elbow inflammation. Cole, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, aims to return in June after recent throwing sessions. If Cole avoids setbacks, he could start a minor league rehab assignment next week.

Cole’s return within the next few weeks could ease the rotation issues caused by Schmidt’s injury, possibly preventing manager Aaron Boone from needing to remove anyone from the rotation or adopting a six-man rotation temporarily.

To fill Schmidt’s spot on the 26-man roster, reliever Cody Morris was called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Morris, who joined the Yankees this season after six years with the Cleveland Guardians, has a 2.82 ERA with 32 strikeouts and 14 walks in 22 1/3 innings over 13 appearances.