Yankees’ ace dials it up to 96 MPH in first live bullpen session

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees, gerrit cole
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Gerrit Cole looked good in his first live bullpen since being shut down with nerve inflammation in his elbow, as the Yankees hope today marks a big step towards his return. The right-hander told reporters earlier this afternoon that he dialed it up to 96 MPH on the fastball before pitching coach Matt Blake told him to dial it back, as he mixed in a variety of pitches to see how his elbow would respond. There was no pain during the session, and while we’ll get a better sign of where he’s at as his body recovers, Gerrit Cole is on track to return to the team in the coming weeks.

The Yankees will likely have him throw a couple more live sessions before deciding on a potential rehab assignment, where they’ll then get a better timeline on when the reigning AL Cy Young winner can return.

Gerrit Cole “Wouldn’t Rule Out” A June Return to the Yankees

MLB: New York Yankees at Houston Astros

This bullpen session was a 20-pitch outing for him, as Gerrit Cole was able to generate three swings and misses and as mentioned earlier, dial things up to 96 MPH. When asked about potentially returning in June, Cole said he wouldn’t rule it out, although it’s clear he still has some hurdles to overcome before he makes a start at the Major League level. The biggest thing right now is that he feels comfortable throwing, as this is his first live bullpen session since his initial shutdown back in Spring Training.

In his absence, the Yankees have been brilliant, even after a gut-wrenching loss last night to the Seattle Mariners, as their starting pitching has been wonderful. Their rotation is top three in ERA, WHIP, and Stuff+ through the first weeks of the season, and it’s created a massive debate about who they should sub out of the starting five when Gerrit Cole finally returns.

An unexpected strength for the team, they’re about as complete as they’ve ever been as a roster, with the lineup, rotation, and bullpen having both star-caliber talent and the depth to get through the year. This doesn’t understate the importance Cole has to this roster, however, as some would argue he’s the best pitcher in all of baseball. Coming off of a Cy Young season where he dominated from start to finish, Cole would be an unbelievable addition to an already dominant rotation.

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