Yankees’ Gerrit Cole takes a big step forward in rehab process

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

Every day, the New York Yankees edge closer to welcoming back their star pitcher, Gerrit Cole. He was sidelined before the season commenced, managing only a single appearance in spring training before nerve inflammation forced him to a halt.

Fortunately, the issue was detected early, preventing a more severe injury that could have sidelined him for the entirety of the 2024 season. Now, with a targeted return in June, Cole’s recovery is progressing well, and the signs are promising that he will make it back as planned.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at New York Yankees
Sep 10, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) gets ready to pitch Milwaukee Brewers at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Cole’s Preparation and Anticipated Impact on the Yankees’ Rotation

On Saturday, in preparation for his return, Cole began with long-toss exercises in the outfield before the Yankees’ game against the Detroit Tigers. He then moved to the bullpen, where he threw 15 pitches, all fastballs, averaging around 89 mph. This session was crucial for testing his arm after weeks of rehabilitation, and he displayed good velocity and control.

Cole’s rehabilitation is being handled with utmost caution by the Yankees, ensuring that he returns only when fully fit. The 33-year-old pitcher had an outstanding 2023 season, recording a 2.63 ERA and 3.16 FIP over 209 innings, with a commendable 9.56 strikeouts per nine innings, an 80.4% left on base rate, and a 39.6% ground ball rate.

Despite the Yankees’ struggles last year, barely maintaining a .500 record and missing the playoffs, Cole’s performance was a highlight, underscoring his commitment and excellence.

With the addition of Juan Soto at the top of the lineup and Aaron Judge regaining his form, the Yankees are poised to strengthen their roster upon Cole’s return. If the team can synchronize their performance with his comeback, they are well-positioned to dominate the second half of the season and potentially enhance their chances of pursuing a World Series title.

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