Yankees’ ace to begin playing catch this week according to Aaron Boone

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Losing Gerrit Cole was a huge blow for the New York Yankees, but this update is extremely positive in regards to how he’s rehabbing. According to Aaron Boone, the reigning AL Cy Young Winner could begin playing catch in the next few days, with that process potentially beginning as soon as tomorrow according to Max Goodman of NJ.com. When we found out he would be undergoing an MRI on his pitching elbow, things were as bad as they could be, as the chance that he could have a tear in the UCL would be devastating for this ballclub.

Instead, they found no damage to that tendon, with inflammation in a nerve there, which allowed fans and members of the organization alike to exhale. Until he returns to a mound, the Yankees are technically not out of the woods yet, but he’s no longer feeling pain in that elbow, and this is a huge step forward.

Gerrit Cole Could Begin Playing Catch, Yankees Get Great Update

MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees
Mar 1, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) throws a pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are chomping at the bit to get Gerrit Cole back on the bump, and this recent update certainly gets them closer to that day. After a season where he was the best pitcher in baseball, the right-hander underwent an MRI in Spring Training for an elbow issue that had been bugging him. He described the feeling as an irritation similar to what he experiences after throwing 100+ pitches in a game, but he didn’t seem overly concerned about anything season-ending.

Fears were officially put to bed regarding any UCL tears when imaging revealed the tendon was intact, as even when they visited world-renowned surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the recommendation was not to get surgery. The discovery of an intact UCL was huge news, but Gerrit Cole would still need to go on the IL with nerve inflammation, and his rehab would be as meticulous as the veteran ace is with everything he does.

New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole
Feb 15, 2024; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) throws during a bullpen session during spring training practice at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Now further along in his rehabilitation, this is a huge first step toward getting back into the swing of things, as the Yankees would love to get him back sometime in late May or early June. Jon Heyman has mentioned a June 1st return date, reporting that the right-hander feels good about his ability to return by then, and given his connections to Cole’s agent (Scott Boras), Heyman would have some strong information about the matter.

Right now the Yankees are getting some solid production from their starters, but they haven’t been pitching deep enough into games, and that could be an issue for this bullpen. Without Jonathan Loaisiga, the bridge to the ninth inning is muddied, something we saw yesterday when the Yankees had to go to Ian Hamilton and Clay Holmes in a game they led 9-2 entering the seventh inning. Getting their ace back would do wonders for their ability to get bulk innings, and this is a great update for the Yankees.

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