The Yankees are nearing the return of the 2023 AL Cy Young award winner

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The New York Yankees have maintained one of the best starting rotations in baseball this season, even in the absence of their ace, Gerrit Cole. As the 2023 AL Cy Young Award winner, Cole’s return to the mound is highly anticipated, promising to bolster an already formidable unit.

Gerrit Cole Nears Return to Yankees’ Rotation

This week marked a significant step in Cole’s comeback as the Yankees upgraded his rehab assignment from Double-A Somerset to Triple-A Scranton. This move places him just one step away from returning to the major leagues.

Baseball: Hartford Yard Goats vs Somerset Patriots
Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

”We’ll see,” Boone said on Friday regarding Cole’s return. “Let’s get through it and then we’ll sit down and see where we’re at, if we think we need another one or that’s it. I don’t know yet.”

In his third rehab appearance, Cole delivered a strong performance, striking out 10 batters over 4.1 innings. He allowed only two hits and one earned run while throwing 70 pitches, with his fastball averaging 94.6 mph and peaking at 97.8 mph.

“That’s pretty good,” said manager Aaron Boone, who had eyes on Cole, per the New York Post. “We’ll see what we have [Saturday]. But glad he got through it and obviously performed well.”

The Yankees are approaching Cole’s return cautiously, given the robust performance of their rotation in his absence. While there is an anticipation of activating him from the 60-day injured list soon, the team is considering giving him at least one more rehab start. This would allow Cole to stretch to about 90 pitches, aligning with the workload expected in regular season starts. The goal is to ensure that he is fully prepared to pitch deep into games without undue reliance on the bullpen.

With his fastball velocity back to form and his nerve injury seemingly resolved, the Yankees are poised to welcome back one of the premier pitchers in the game. Cole’s return comes at an opportune moment, as the team recently celebrated its 50th win of the season, signaling strong prospects for continued success in the league.

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