Report: Yankees ace Gerrit Cole set to face hitters Tuesday for first time since IL stint

Cole was placed on 60-day injured list with right elbow inflammation by New York in March
Mar 29, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole smiles during batting
Mar 29, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole smiles during batting / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole is inching one step closer to his return.

Cole will face live hitters Tuesday for the first time since being placed on the injured list, according to YES Network Yankees clubhouse reporter Meredith Marakovits.

The 2023 American League Cy Young Award winner was placed on the 60-day IL because of right elbow inflammation on March 28; the earliest Cole is eligible to return would be May 27. The 33-year old, who only pitched twice during spring training, is progressing, and seems to be close to on-schedule after an initial reported timetable of 1-2 months based on the injury.

Despite not having Cole, the Yankees’ pitching staff has been terrific this season. Led by the emergence of Clarke Schmidt as a viable option in the starting rotation, a bounceback season from Carlos Rodon, a solid season from free agent acquisition Marcus Stroman, a breakout stretch from Luis Gil and the steady Nestor Cortes, New York is currently leading or near the top of most pitching categories in the AL and Major League Baseball.

The Yankees’ 2.81 ERA leads the Majors – New York has conceded only 134 earned runs in 429 total innings in 2024. The Yankees have also recorded 18 saves, 13 coming from Clay Holmes, who has not allowed an earned run being utilized in the primary closer role by manager Aaron Boone this season, which also leads the Majors.

Last year Cole led the majors with a 7.4 WAR among pitchers, led the AL with a 2.63 ERA – National League Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell led the Majors overall with a 2.25 ERA – and innings pitched (209). His 222 strikeouts were a slight dip compared to recent seasons, but there is no question once Cole returns, his spot at the top of the rotation is waiting for him.

Cole’s return will undoubtedly have a major impact on the Yankees starting rotation philosophy. One major question General Manager Brian Cashman and Boone will have to answer is: is it better to ease Cole in with the way Cortes, Rodon, Stroman, Schmidt and Gil have performed, and if so, would it benefit the Yankees to implement a six-man rotation moving forward?

New York (33-15) enters Monday with a season-high seven straight victories after consecutive sweeps of the Minnesota Twins (at Target Field) and Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees, who own the second-best record in the Majors behind the Philadelphia Phillies (34-14) start a four-game home series Monday against the Seattle Mariners.


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Joe Calabrese

JOE CALABRESE

Joseph Calabrese is an avid New York sports fan, who has previously made stops at and worked for major sports leagues and companies, including NBC Sports, CBS Sports and Bettor Sports Network. He is a huge Yankees fan and can be found on X: @JCalabrese1. He also co-hosts the "You Know I'm Right" podcast with fellow media member Nick Durst.