Yankees’ Gerrit Cole nearing big step in rehab

MLB: New York Yankees at Houston Astros
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees, at 2.72, have the second-best ERA by starters in MLB and the best in the American League. Only the Philadelphia Phillies (2.69) have been better as of Monday morning. The most impressive part, however, is that the Bombers have done that without their ace, Gerrit Cole.

On March 13, doctors determined that Cole, who had been complaining that his elbow wasn’t recovering as expected between starts, needed to rest for a few weeks and then restart his throwing program. The Yankees shut him down for 1-2 months at that time, and the diagnosis was right elbow inflammation.

The right-hander, who just won his first Cy Young award in 2023, took it easy with his rehab. He started soft-tossing, then graduated to longer distances, completed several bullpens, and has been facing live hitters for a few days now.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees
Apr 16, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) celebrates with catcher Jose Trevino (39) after pitching a complete game shutout to beat the Minnesota Twins 2-0 at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees can afford to give Cole the time he needs

His most recent session was on Saturday when Cole faced hitters in a simulated game. Per SNY, he faced hitters at the team’s minor league complex in Tampa and threw two 15-pitch innings. The same publication reported that he was “on the cusp” of a rehab assignment.

According to what Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters over the weekend, Cole will throw another simulated game sometime this week and from there, “there’s a chance” Cole could potentially start in a rehab game in short order.

The scenario is set for the Yankees to give Cole all the time he needs to get himself game-ready. Right now, their five starters have been amazing, and there is no clear path for the reigning AL Cy Young to rejoin the rotation at the moment. When he is fully healthy, however, decisions are going to be made.

For now, the Yankees can keep riding Luis Gil (with a phenomenal 2.11 ERA), Clarke Schmidt, Marcus Stroman, Carlos Rodón and Nestor Cortes for as long as Cole needs to get ready.

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