Gerrit Cole ranks self ‘under five’ despite ‘feeling good’ in the first mound session

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole is throwing from the mound first time at Yankee Stadium bullpen following his injury, May 4, 2024.

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On Saturday, Gerrit Cole threw 15 fastballs off the bullpen mound at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees’ ace reported feeling positive about the session but refrained from providing a specific timeline for his comeback.

When questioned about his current condition on a scale from zero to ten, with zero representing inability to lift his arm and ten indicating readiness to start a game, Gerrit Cole paused before estimating his status as “under five somewhere.” This indicates that he is still far from reaching full strength.

Normally, such a modest workout wouldn’t attract much attention from a reigning American League Cy Young Award winner. However, this marked Gerrit Cole’s first bullpen session since elbow inflammation sidelined him during spring training, making it a significant event worthy of some enthusiastic remarks from the pitcher himself.

“It’s an exciting day,” he said. “I’m feeling good about it.”

Gerrit Cole expressed genuine excitement about the day and conveyed optimism about the brief session, stating that he felt good about it. Despite this progress, he still has a considerable journey ahead before returning to the mound and experiencing genuine excitement.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone acknowledged the anticipation surrounding Gerrit Cole’s comeback, expressing hope that it might happen sometime during the summer. However, he stressed that their primary focus is on Gerrit Cole’s recovery progress and ensuring he takes the necessary steps to return, regain form, and achieve full health.

Gerrit Cole makes progress

On Saturday morning, Yankees ace Gerrit Cole achieved a significant milestone in his recovery from an elbow injury by throwing off a mound for the first time since being sidelined in mid-March.

Gerrit Cole minutes before throwing off the mound during a Yankees training session on Saturday, May 4, 2024

Gerrit Cole stepped onto the Yankees‘ bullpen mound at 10:40 a.m., well ahead of New York’s game against the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium. He reported tossing 15 pitches, with 13 of them finding the strike zone, all of which were fastballs. According to the ace pitcher, the pitches averaged 89 mph.

This bullpen session marked Gerrit Cole’s initial mound appearance since his mid-March shutdown, signifying a notable advancement. Max Goodman reported that the Yankees ace was “giddy” following the throwing session, indicating its success.

Gerrit Cole expressed his enjoyment of the day, acknowledging it as his most substantial experience in a while. He admitted to missing the sensation and viewed it as a positive step forward.

Having primarily thrown off flat surfaces since late last month, Gerrit Cole remarked that the baseball felt good leaving his hand, and he experienced no discomfort. However, he opted not to divulge the next steps in his rehabilitation program.

The Yankees ace mentioned that the team would closely monitor his progress over the coming days to gauge his response. Based on his advancement, they would decide on the next steps regarding mound work.

Boone elaborated on Gerrit Cole’s situation, emphasizing the pitcher’s passion for his craft, his skill level, and his commitment to his profession. He characterized the current stage as part of his return process, viewing the recent development as another step forward in that journey. Boone expressed satisfaction with reaching this stage, concluding optimistically with the phrase “Onward and upward.”

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole's bobblehead during Star Wars Day at Yankee Stadium bullpen, May 4, 2024.

One thing Gerrit Cole was certain about was how much he missed pitching and how even Saturday’s brief workout meant to him.

He becomes eligible to return from the 60-day IL at the end of this month. Despite preparing to take a significant step in his throwing program over the weekend, there still lies an extended build-up ahead.

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