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Reigning AL Cy Young Gerrit Cole Unlikely to Be Ready For New York Yankees' Opening Day

The New York Yankees are still waiting for an official diagnosis of ace Gerrit Cole's elbow injury, but manager Aaron Boone doesn't think he will be ready for the start of the season.

Gerrit Cole is unlikely to be ready in time for Opening Day, according to New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone.

Boone first told reporters that Cole was set to undergo an MRI on his pitching elbow Monday.

Although Boone did not offer any updates on how the MRI went in his session with the media Tuesday, he did say "it would be difficult" to envision Cole being good to go in time for New York's regular season opener against the Houston Astros on March 28. Boone said regardless of the results of Cole's MRI, the reigning AL Cy Young won't have enough of a runway to build up before then.

Cole will undergo more tests on his elbow Tuesday. Boone posited that it would take a few days for the medical staff to reach a consensus on the injury.

Cole's lone Grapefruit League appearance came against the Toronto Blue Jays on March 1. He allowed three earned runs, four hits and a home run, tossing 39 pitches across 2.0 innings of work.

The 33-year-old right-hander is entering the fifth season of the record-breaking nine-year, $324 million contract he signed with the Yankees in December 2019. He has served as New York's Opening Day starter in each of the last four years. 

Cole went 15-4 with a 2.63 ERA, 0.981 WHIP and 7.4 WAR in 2023.

Going back to his time with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Houston Astros, Cole is 145-75 with a 3.17 ERA, 1.087 WHIP and 2,152 strikeouts for his career. Before he won his first Cy Young Award last fall, Cole finished as the runner-up twice and inside the top 10 six times.

Cole has started 30-plus games in each of the last six non-COVID seasons, and he has surged past 200 innings six times in his career. His injury history is surprisingly limited, given how hard he's thrown the ball over the last 11 MLB seasons.

The former No. 1 overall pick out of UCLA ranks seventh among active pitchers in career WAR at 40.7.

In the wake of Cole's injury, the Yankees have reportedly re-opened discussions with the Chicago White Sox about trading for ace Dylan Cease, per USA Today's Bob Nightengale. Reigning NL Cy Young Blake Snell remains a free agent as well.

New York is also staring down a potential injury to star slugger Aaron Judge, who underwent an MRI on his abs Monday.

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