Boone downplays Gerrit Cole’s early return, but confirms next rehab game on Friday

Gerrit Cole pitching for Double-A Somerset on Sunday, June 9.
New York Post

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Ahead of the third clash between the New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals, manager Aaron Boone revealed that Gerrit Cole will be in line for his next rehab start with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in Rochester on Friday.

However Aaron Boone only responded that he is going to see if they can anticipate his return sooner than expected.

“We’ll see”, Boone remarked in an interview with Max Goodman of NJ.com

Is Gerrit Cole close to complete a return to the Yankees?

Yankees' Gerrit Cole's return timeline remains unknown.
New York Post

Gerrit Cole, who won the 2023 American League Cy Young Award winner, is close to completing a return to the New York Yankees after having to deal with nerve irritation and edema in his elbow earlier in the season. A rehab on Friday night in Rochester against the Red Wings will make a big step towards a return to the Yankees.

This outing marks Gerrit Cole’s third rehab start, following appearances for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Rail Riders, the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate. Originally, the plan was for Cole to pitch at Somerset, the Double-A affiliate, but their schedule had them on the road, making Rochester the logical choice due to their home games aligning perfectly with Cole’s recovery timeline.

For Gerrit Cole, these rehab starts have been progressive and essential in gauging his readiness. His first outing on June 4th saw him pitch 3 ⅓ innings, allowing just two hits while striking out five. In his subsequent start last Sunday, he extended to 4 ⅔ innings, maintaining a strong performance with four strikeouts and a solo home run allowed. His fastball velocity reached 96 mph, demonstrating both his recovery and readiness to resume major league duties.

What lies ahead of Gerrit Cole’s rehab in Rochester?

Bridgewater, New Jersey – The Yankees are tied for the most wins in baseball entering action on Sunday with a 45-21 mark, while their pitching staff has posted a cumulative 2.88 ERA – the top mark in all of MLB. As they say, the rich may be getting richer as reigning American League Cy Young award winner Gerrit Cole took another enormous step forward in making a return to the Bronx after an impressive second rehab start with Somerset on Sunday afternoon, June 9, 2024.
Somerset Patriots

Regarding the upcoming start in Rochester, Gerrit Cole is expected to push his pitch count to approximately 70-75 pitches.

This workload could more or less lead to four, five or even six innings on the ground, depending on how he performs and how ready enough the Yankees think he is. If everything goes to plan, it could yet be the last thing standing in the way of Gerrit Cole’s return to the Yankees’ starting lineup, probably as early as next week against the Baltimore Orioles.

As per recent reports, Gerrit Cole’s recovery from injury has been evaluated closely, with initial worries about his ulnar collateral ligament reducing after several medical evaluations in Los Angeles confirmed there was no damage. This means there would be no need for a Tommy John surgery. Instead, Cole was allowed a month of rest, alongside a carefully managed rehab schedule. This helped to slowly rebuild his strength and pitching form.

Gerrit Cole pitching for Double-A Somerset on Sunday during his second rehab start.4Gerrit Cole pitching for Double-A Somerset on Sunday, June 9, during his second rehab start.
Bill Kostroun / New York Post

The Yankees have been very careful about managing Gerrit Cole’s recovery, though they remain positive about it as well, ensuring that every of his rehabilitation process will allow him regain his best form on the pitch once again.

Manager Aaron Boone has stressed the importance of Gerrit Cole’s return, though maintaining that the player will not be rushed and his availability for the upcoming crucial series will depend on his progress from the rehab. The game on Friday will not count as an important moment for Gerrit Cole in his recovery from injury but also shows the relationship between the Yankees and their minor league affiliates in helping player recovery and development.

For Rochester, hosting such a high-profile rehab appearance adds excitement, particularly among local Yankees fans eager to witness Gerrit Cole’s return to form ahead of what promises to be an impactful return to the major league stage.

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