Shoulder injury claims surface after Gerrit Cole’s shaky subway outing

Gerrit Cole, who lasted just four innings, heads back to the mound after giving up a two-run homer to Brandon Nimmo in the Yankees’ Subway Series matchup vs. the Mets.
Michael Bennington
Thursday June 27, 2024

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Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez has voiced concerns about New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole’s recent outings, suggesting that the 2023 Cy Young winner might be grappling with a shoulder issue rather than the elbow inflammation that sidelined him for the first two and a half months of the 2024 season.

Gerrit Cole, who returned to the mound on June 19, had a rough second start against the New York Mets on Tuesday. In a challenging appearance, he lasted only four innings, giving up seven hits, six earned runs, and four walks without striking out a single batter in the Yankees’ 9-7 defeat.

Martinez, analyzing Gerrit Cole’s performance on MLB Network, pointed out that the pitcher’s mechanics suggested possible shoulder trouble. The former Red Sox star observed that the Yankees ace’s arm seemed to be coming up late, leading to poor location and consistently high, off-target pitches.

“Actually, looking at him, he looks more to me like he has a shoulder problem than an elbow problem because his location is not there,” the pitching legend said about Gerrit Cole. “Everything was up. Everything was yanked to the other side. That is a sign of a guy that’s getting his arm up late. The elbow does not stop you from getting your arm up on time, but the shoulder would, and that’s how he looked.

Martinez elaborated that while elbow issues generally don’t hinder a pitcher from raising their arm on time, shoulder problems can. He speculated that Gerrit Cole might be experiencing weakness or timing issues during his comeback, which could be affecting his ability to hit the proper release point.

The Hall of Famer’s analysis underscored Gerrit Cole’s difficulties with pitch elevation and control, noting that his pitches were flat and erratic. This raises concerns about the ace pitcher’s recovery and the true state of his physical condition as he strives to regain his Cy Young form.

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole has one of the worst outings of his career at Citi Field vs. the Mets on June 25, 2024.

Analyzing Gerrit Cole’s mechanics during his latest start against the New York Mets, Martinez noted that Cole’s arm seemed to be coming up late, impacting his pitch location. He explained that shoulder weakness could result in a lower arm slot, making it difficult for Cole to achieve his desired release point and accuracy.

“He’s either weak or he lost his timing as he was struggling to get back, but his arm was never on time to get to the proper release point,” he said. “So everything was up, everything was sailing around the plate and everything was flat, up in the strike zone.”

Gerrit Cole’s outing raises question

His outing was marked by four home runs allowed, with exit velocities exceeding 104 mph. Although Gerrit Cole reached a peak fastball speed of 98.9 mph, he reduced his average velocity to 94 mph after a grueling 28-pitch first inning. Cole attributed this reduction to deliberate adjustments due to location issues.

However, Martinez questioned this rationale, noting that Gerrit Cole’s breaking balls were well-timed, which suggested that his arm wasn’t reaching the optimal position for fastballs. He pointed out that the slower nature of breaking pitches allows more time for proper execution, even with potential shoulder issues.

“His breaking ball was perfectly on time for his arm, and that’s a sign that his arm is not really getting to the top where he needs to be with his fastball,” the ex-pitcher said. “But for the breaking ball, you have more time to actually bring it around and you are slower with your breaking ball a little bit.”

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole has one of the worst outings of his career at Citi Field vs. the Mets on June 25, 2024.

When asked about possible apprehension in Gerrit Cole’s pitching, Martinez speculated that shoulder problems might be the underlying cause, possibly a carryover from his previous outing. He noted a discrepancy between Gerrit Cole’s dominant rehab performances and his struggles in the majors.

Gerrit Cole’s pitch count has remained relatively low in his major league starts, barely exceeding the 70-pitch mark he reached during rehab. Despite his assertion that he is healthy and the Yankees’ decision to build his workload in the majors, Martinez expressed concern about the Yankee’s ability to execute pitches with confidence.

“I just don’t see a Gerrit Cole who is really sure that he can get those pitches down with conviction,” he said.

The former Red Sox star highlighted the frustration of seeing a pitcher with the right approach struggle with execution, describing it as “devastating” from a former pitcher’s perspective.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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One thought on “Shoulder injury claims surface after Gerrit Cole’s shaky subway outing

  1. Cole didn’t go through any Spring Training before being shut down. Spring Training is usually 6 starts for a starting pitcher. Today’s idea of how to prep these guys really doesn’t make most of them ready for the start of the regular season anyway. Throw in the fact that when the 4th and 5th starts in Spring come around, pitchers usually end up with some form of dead arm. oh, weren’t Cole’s first 2 MLB starts his 4th and 5th starts? Now, draw your own conclusions.

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