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Carlos Rodon ‘remorseful’ after turning back on coach Matt Blake during ugly start

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Yankees knew they were getting a feisty competitor when they signed Carlos Rodon to a six-year, $162 million contract last December. 

That went for good times and in bad, but Rodon has had more opportunities for the latter in his brutal first season with the team. 

Twice this year, Rodon’s fiery nature has bubbled over into a negative confrontation on the field during a start.

The first was fairly harmless, when he blew a kiss to a jeering fan at Angel Stadium in July as he walked off the mound after the second inning of a game he was losing 4-0. 

Then came Friday night, Rodon’s last start of the season, when he turned his back on pitching coach Matt Blake during a mound visit just six batters into the game.

Two batters later, Rodon’s season was over as he failed to record an out while giving up eight runs. 

That led to a meeting on Saturday in which Rodon apologized to Blake and the two hashed out the situation. 

“Obviously not ideal,” Blake said Saturday at Kauffman Stadium. “A little disappointed in the moment, how it [was] being handled, but anytime you go out into the arena like that and the emotions are running high, especially with him, you know at times it’s what makes him great. It also can be his undoing that those type of things can happen. 

“It’s not what you’re looking for or the way you want it to be handled, but at the same time, you understand where it’s born out of a place of frustration in himself and the situation we’re in. You try to take it all in perspective.” 

Blake said that Rodon was “remorseful” and “apologetic” in their meeting Saturday.

The pitching coach said he wanted to make sure the incident “wasn’t out of personal disrespect, and it wasn’t at all.” 

After Friday’s game, Rodon said he had not talked to Blake yet because he wanted to cool off.

Following his session with reporters, Rodon went into manager Aaron Boone’s office for a lengthy closed-door meeting. 

“Sometimes you see a guy that’s in the middle of a great year that’s showing that kind of emotion and it’s a different storyline,” Boone said. “What happened is not acceptable and something we wanted to make sure we addressed properly. But we feel like we’re in a good spot and there’s no ill intentions there on Carlos’ part.” 

Boone said he “possibly” would have considered discipline for Rodon if the Yankees were at a different point of the season instead of playing Game 161 on Saturday night. 

“I think part of him doesn’t really know in the moment what he’s doing,” Boone said. “He’s just so locked in and intense and having that edge. But there needs to be some awareness when you are in that highly competitive mode.” 

Rodon’s emotional demeanor on the mound is the kind of thing that might endear him to the fan base if things were going well.

Instead, Rodon’s first season in pinstripes ended with as many wins as injuries — forearm, back and hamstring — while going 3-8 with a 6.85 ERA across 64 ¹/₃ innings and 14 starts. 

The left-hander’s velocity was noticeably down Friday for a second straight start, but both Boone and Blake said they thought Rodon was fine physically — to the point that he offered to come back and pitch on Saturday or Sunday after only throwing 35 pitches Friday. 

“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. “So it’s just a fine line that these guys have to toe when they go out there and compete at the highest level. It’s something we’re constantly working on as a group and him in particular. … We want him to go out there and have a lot of success and behave in the right ways.

“Obviously this is one we’d look back and wish we could have back.”