Yankees: Initial feeling is that there isn’t ‘extreme concern’ regarding Gerrit Cole’s injury

MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees
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The news about the Yankees potentially losing their ace Gerrit Cole has caused all surrounding the organization and fanbase to hold their breath. When you hear about an elbow injury for a pitcher, you immediately think of the worst-case scenario, and while only the MRI will tell, the initial reports have been somewhat optimistic. Following a report that Gerrit Cole felt good after various strength tests on the arm, there’s further optimism from Andy Martino of SNY, who reports that he’s heard the term ‘precautionary’ thrown around with the right-hander.

Still, there’s worry about what the MRI could reveal and how long they’ll be without Gerrit Cole, but the hope right now is that he won’t be out for too long.

Gerrit Cole’s Injury Looming Large Over Yankees

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

Following a year where he took home the American League Cy Young, the expectations for Gerrit Cole entering 2024 were understandably sky-high. The issue now is an elbow injury that could be serious if the MRI reveals a tear of the UCL, but the reports from various reporters suggest that initial testing has been mostly positive. It’s an evolving situation, and we won’t know of the official results of that MRI until tomorrow most likely, but it’s also possible that we get the results on Wednesday instead.

This is an obviously terrifying situation for the Yankees; Gerrit Cole is arguably the most important individual on the roster, given the question marks in their rotation. If the Yankees can get positive news on this evaluation, there would be a universal sigh of relief, given the serious nature of elbow issues. They could resurface during the season, but the Yankees will exude caution with their ace, knowing how important he is to their postseason equation.

READ MORE: Yankees: Optimism growing that Gerrit Cole’s injury isn’t season-ending

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays
Aug 25, 2023; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) gives a thumbs up against the Tampa Bay Rays at the end of the first inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Who becomes the Opening Day starter if the Yankees were to lose Gerrit Cole for the first weeks of the season remains to be seen, as Carlos Rodon and Marcus Stroman are the likeliest two and three starters in their rotation. If you shift them up, you’d imagine that Rodon gets the nod for their first game of the season in Houston, but that could change based on other injury news or the Yankees’ preference. Stroman has certainly had an excellent spring, and he was the Opening Day starter for the Chicago Cubs last season, so this would be a familiar situation for him.

The confidence levels in the rotation are certainly dropping with this injury to Gerrit Cole, but just how much it drops is entirely based on how severe it is. If he’s shut down for a bit and can ramp up well, then there would be optimism about a return for the reigning Cy Young Award winner in April or May. Again, it’s a very fluid situation, and the Yankees are certainly holding their breath, but the initial belief is that it isn’t of extreme concern. We’ll have a definitive answer in the coming days, but it’s also being reported that no movement has been made towards signing Blake Snell.

If you think about it, that’s probably a good thing, if the Yankees were already calling about frontline pitching we’d know something is seriously up.

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