Yankees’ ace takes big rehab step with 3rd bullpen session

MLB: Seattle Mariners at New York Yankees
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are closely monitoring the rehabilitation of their ace pitcher, Gerrit Cole, ensuring he has ample time to recover at a comfortable pace. Cole is currently overcoming a nerve injury in his throwing elbow, a condition he detected early enough to potentially save his season from ending prematurely. His recovery is progressing well, and he remains on track for a return in June.

During his latest session, Cole threw 29 pitches, including both fastballs and breaking balls. The ability to throw breaking balls is particularly significant because they require more spin and place additional stress on a pitcher’s elbow. The successful completion of this session is a positive indicator that Cole’s anticipated June return is both realistic and promising.

“Fastball profiles were good,” Cole noted. “Location was good. Velocity was where we wanted. A lot of strikes.”

MLB: New York Yankees at Houston Astros
Jul 10, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) reacts after recording a strikeout against the Houston Astros to end the game at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees’ Performance and Outlook Without Cole

Despite Cole’s absence, the Yankees have managed to stay competitive in the American League East, currently sitting just 1.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles, who have had a healthy and dominant start to the season.

Cole’s return is highly anticipated as he could significantly enhance the Yankees’ efficiency on the mound.

Last year, Cole achieved a 2.63 ERA over 209 innings and was honored with the 2023 AL Cy Young Award. Although his innings are likely to be reduced to just over 100 for this season, the primary focus is ensuring his long-term health and readiness for the rest of the 2024 campaign.

In addition to monitoring Cole’s progress, the Yankees are also cautiously advancing with infielder DJ LeMahieu’s recovery. LeMahieu has started hitting against live pitching but is still a few days away from embarking on another rehabilitation assignment.

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