While initial reports indicated that New York Yankees star slugger Aaron Judge was simply hitting off of a tee, video captured on Thursday suggests otherwise. The team joined management in the Bronx on Wednesday morning, but simple rehabilitation and batting practice occurred on Thursday, which included star pitcher Gerrit Cole and a bevy of recovering players.
Cole, who is yet to pitch an active game for the Yankees after signing a nine-year, $324 million deal this off-season, pitched a three-inning simulation with a quality lineup, consisting of Judge, Aaron Hicks, and Luke Voit.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) July 2, 2020
Judge with a nuke against Cole pic.twitter.com/N3nS22fB7d
— Dan Rourke (@DanAlanRourke) July 2, 2020
The informal work out gave Cole a chance to take the mound at Yankee Stadium and several players recovering from injuries to take live at-bats against a quality arm.
Matt Blake, pitching coach for the Yankees, was excited to see Cole on the mound for the first time, stating:
“He looked good today. He’s moving right along [with] his progression so we actually went three [innings] today and kind of set the bar for what we’re going to build on,” Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake said of Cole being ready for the regular season in three weeks.
“A good baseline to kind of face some hitters from our own team. So, it’s good to see some of those guys out there as well. But yeah, [he’s] in a really good spot and the nice thing is it doesn’t take fans in the stands to get him amped, so we’re good there.”
The New York Yankees are getting their pitchers some action:
Gerrit wasn’t the only one to enjoy some action, with Masahiro Tanaka and Adam Ottavino both partaking in workouts. Ottavino actually faced off against the same batters as Cole, over two simulated innings.
At 29 years old, Cole is coming off a fantastic campaign in 2019. He finished second in voting for the American League Cy Young award, leading the AL with a 2.50 ERA and 326 strikeouts. The Yanks will be depending on him to act as the team’s No. 1 pitcher for 2020 and beyond.
As for Judge, who GM Brian Cashman is optimistic about, regarding his potential return to the active team on Opening Day, is making excellent progress in his progression to game-form.