Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Gerrit Cole update: Yankees ace hits ‘all our goals’ in 20-pitch rehab outing

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New York Yankees Gerrit Cole reached another checkpoint in his recovery from an elbow injury that’s sidelined the reigning American League Cy Young winner since spring training. On Saturday, Cole at the Yankees player-development complex in Tampa worked two full innings against minor-league hitters. 

“We hit all our goals,” Cole said afterward, via the Associated Press. “We did exactly what we wanted to do today. Threw a lot of strikes, so pretty good.”

Cole went on to say he would face hitters again in roughly five days. On Tuesday, Cole was able to throw 20 pitches to teammates Oswaldo Cabrera and Jahmai Jones, so Saturday’s work on the mound constitutes a notable step forward. 

After just one spring start, Cole was shut down with elbow discomfort and eventually diagnosed with elbow nerve inflammation and edema. He wasn’t able to throw off a mound until May 5. 

Cole, perhaps too optimistically, has suggested he may be able to rejoin the rotation at some point in June. However, he’ll need to continue checking off boxes and probably go out on a minor-league rehab assignment in order to ramp up to game readiness. 

When healthy, Cole has been one of the best pitchers in the sport for close to a decade. Over the last three seasons alone, he’s compiled a 3.11 ERA (135 ERA+) and a 5.19 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In addition to winning his first Cy Young Award last fall, he had received consideration in each of the past five seasons, including second-place finishes in 2019 and in 2022. The loss of such an ace always makes for a dominating absence, but it’s worth noting that the Yankees’ rotation thus far in 2024 has been one of the best in baseball, even without Cole’s services. 

The Yankees enter their Saturday night game against the Padres with a record of 36-17 and in first place in the AL East. 

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