Yankees starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt throws in the bottom of the first...

Yankees starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt throws in the bottom of the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla., on Tuesday. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Clarke Schmidt’s confidence in himself has been a source of amusement in the Yankees clubhouse for years.

Veteran pitcher JA Happ would smile in talking about Schmidt’s “swagger” early in spring training 2020, and the Schmidt Strut near the mound after some strikeouts has been impersonated behind the scenes by more than a few fellow pitchers.

All of which explains why Aaron Boone smiled widely before answering a question about any possible concerns he might have relating to Schmidt’s mindset with the rumors about Blake Snell still swirling.

Schmidt, as the fifth starter, would be the one dropped from the rotation if that signing were to occur (which, to be clear, currently remains a longshot at best).

“Clarke’s not human,” Boone said before Schmidt’s spring training debut Tuesday against the Rays when he allowed one run and two hits over two innings of a 4-2 loss at Charlotte Sports Park. “Clarke’s the most confident person in the world. That’s (Snell) so much speculation. He’s getting ready to go dominate the league in his mind, and rightfully so. He’s now established himself in our eyes as a starting pitcher in this league, and I’m ready for him to take another step in his continued development in that regard.”

Schmidt in 2023, his first full season as a starter, went 9-9 with a 4.64 ERA, experiencing plenty of ups and downs.

The 28-year-old righthander was 0-3 with a 6.84 ERA after his first six starts, then went 2-2 with a 3.52 ERA over his next six outings. Schmidt’s best stretch was from May 19-Aug. 8 when he 7-2 with a 3.12 ERA. But Schmidt, en route to throwing a career-high 159 innings, went 1-3 with a 5.73 ERA over his final seven starts, fatigue playing at least some role in that stretch.

Because of his inconsistency, Schmidt entered camp perhaps the biggest question in the Yankees rotation and the reason many fans are clamoring for Snell.

Which Schmidt understands.

“I get it. As a sports fan I understand it,” Schmidt said. “I’m a fan of teams. I understand when there’s a free agent out there that’s possible, I would want that too.”

So Schmidt, who laughed when Boone’s “not human” comment was relayed to him regarding his self-confidence and said “that’s fair play” in reply, isn’t bothered by the Snell talk.

“For me, I’m just going to show people this year,” Schmidt said. “The proof is in the pudding. I learned a lot from last year and I know what I’m capable of doing and I know how high my ceiling can get and I’m very, very excited to show the fans that too.”

So is the message the No. 5 slot in the rotation is in good hands?

“I would say it is, for sure,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt, the Yankees' first-round pick in the 2017 draft (taken 16th overall) who comes from a military family, said much of the confidence he has was instilled in him by his parents, as well as his faith.

And so, no, Schmidt isn’t tired of hearing about Blake Snell. And if he is, he’s doing a good job of blocking it out.

“It seems like I can’t avoid it,” Schmidt said. “It’s just part of the business. I’m just going to continue to go about my stuff every day.”

He said eliminating the noise is something he’s had practice doing.

Such as “having a 7 ERA the first month and a half of (last) season in New York” and all that entailed.

“It kind of all plays in hand with being on a big market team like this,” Schmidt said. “There’s always potential free agents, there’s always fans, there’s always outside factors that can definitely play part if you let it. For me, I do a pretty good job of blocking all of that stuff out.”

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