Yankees’ star pitcher takes big step forward in rehabilitation

MLB: Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are still waiting patiently for the return of ace Gerrit Cole, who suffered a nerve injury to his throwing arm during spring training.

Unfortunately, Cole is scheduled to miss at least the next six weeks, but the injury could’ve been much worse, resulting in a season-ending injury that would’ve left the Yankees shorthanded in the starting rotation.

Fortunately, Cole caught the issue and managed to stifle any long-term repercussions, with an expected timetable for return in early June. The Yankees have maintained their status as one of the best teams in the game, and despite dropping the first game of a three-game series to the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday, they will look to turn things around on Tuesday evening.

The Yankees Are Eyeing Cole’s Eventual Return

The latest rehab update includes a ramp-up in volume and distance. On Sunday, he threw from 60 feet and is expected to throw again on Tuesday around 75 feet. Increasing the volume and, eventually, the velocity will be the key for Cole, who is reportedly feeling solid so far .

“He’ll continue throwing this week and upping the — he’s upped the volume a little bit already, but I think he gets out to 75 [feet] and beyond moving forward this week,” Boone said.

Cole is coming off an AL CY Young award-winning season in 2023, hosting a 2.63 ERA, 3.16 FIP, 9.56 strikeouts per nine, 80.4% left on base rate, and 39.6% ground ball rate over 209 innings. This was the second consecutive season he pitched over 200 innings, showcasing elite resiliency and fatigue management.

With the Yankees having World Series aspirations, they desperately need Cole to maintain his health and regain his rhythm.

In the meantime, the Yankees have bled heavily on some of their deeper options, like Clarke Schmidt and Luis Gil, to help offset the loss of Cole, but his impact is simply irreplaceable.

The Yankees will support Carlos Rodon on the mound Tuesday night against Toronto. He’s had a solid start to the season with a 1.72 ERA over 15.2 innings. He will look to compound that early success and reclaim his role as one of the team’s top arms.

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