Gerrit Cole vows to continue pitching until Yankees wade into the danger zone

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Despite the Yankees’ falling standings, the work ethic of Gerrit Cole remains strong. The ace starting pitcher has refused any letup to protect his arm for the upcoming season as long as the team is in the race.

“As long as we’re not in the danger zone — and we’re not even close — I’ll pitch,’’ Gerrit Cole told. 

On Friday, Gerrit Cole is set to participate in his 27th start of the season, the highest in the American League. Despite the Yankees almost being eliminated from playoff contention, the talented right-handed pitcher bowed not to ease up. This came in the wake of growing demands to shut down key Yankees players and let them be prepared for the 2024 season.

Gerrit Cole: The Yankees’ workhorse

Up until now, Gerrit Cole has accumulated 160 and one-third innings on the mound, securing the lead in the American League in this regard. In the previous year, his tally for the regular season stood at 200 and two-thirds innings, and he further contributed 18 and one-third innings during the playoffs.

However, it’s highly unlikely that he will replicate those postseason innings during the ongoing season. This point was recently highlighted concisely by both the general manager, Brian Cashman, and Anthony Rizzo. Gerrit Cole also expressed the same notion, admitting uncertainty about the Yankees’ playoff chances this week.

According to Gerrit Cole, he may consider adjusting his approach only if he is to approach around 250 innings. His target is to reach the range of 205 to 210 innings. He elaborated that achieving this goal was a challenge he took on, especially since the 2020 season was shortened due to COVID-19. The Yankees ace highlighted the irreplaceable nature of the consistent workload over the year and the importance of following the same progression.

Gerrit Cole of the New York Yankees
AP

Nevertheless, Gerrit Cole emphasized the necessity of gearing up for that additional workload in 2024, irrespective of the outcome in the remainder of this year. He vowed to continue taking the mound for the Yankees as long as the team wasn’t in a precarious situation, which, according to him, was not even remotely the case at the moment.

However, he revealed additional factors that contribute to his commitment to consistently participate in each rotation, irrespective of the team’s position in the standings. Gerrit Cole remarked that the Yankees were there to play 162 games and underlined his complete dedication encompassed making 33 or 34 starts. He told about a personal desire to fulfill that obligation, driven by the fact that he was remunerated for such performance.

The Yankees ace also conveyed his desire to pitch on behalf of the organization and fans attending to witness him, as well as for the sake of his teammates and family. He acknowledged the presence of various motivating elements beyond the physical aspect and affirmed his ongoing enjoyment of pitching.

“I personally want to fulfill that. I want to fulfill that because I’m getting paid to do that,” he said.

“I want to play for the organization and the people showing up to watch me pitch, my teammates and my family. There’s a lot of different motivating factors other than physical. I still enjoy pitching.” 

Gerrit Cole is impressive while the Yankees are depressive

This season, Gerrit Cole has been pitching with remarkable excellence, boasting a 3.03 ERA that also holds the leading position in the American League. However, this impressive performance has largely gone to waste due to inadequate output, as well as health issues, experienced by both the rotation and the lineup.

Gerrit Cole remarked that one could opt to experience frustration in light of the team’s season that fell short of expectations. He mentioned that within the group, there were youthful individuals who were enthusiastic to commence their journey. He brought into focus the efforts of individuals, such as Everson Pereira and Oswald Cabrera were acknowledged, as they had diligently worked to attain their current positions.

From his perspective as a more experienced individual, the Yankees ace pondered on the approach of perceiving the situation with optimism rather than dwelling on its drawbacks. He acknowledged the distinct hurdles encountered during this year, challenges that had not arisen in quite some time and were personally unprecedented within his career.

Gerrit Cole with his son and wife at Yankee Stadium in April 2023.
Amy Cole/ Instagram

When asked if he struggles to overcome the annoyance caused by the Yankees’ failure, Gerrit Cole responded:

“You keep it simple. It shouldn’t be too much different than any other year.” 

Gerrit Cole recommended maintaining a straightforward approach, stating that it shouldn’t differ significantly from previous years. However, he admitted, “the unique challenges this year that we haven’t faced in a long time and that I, personally, have not seen in my career.

During the Tuesday session, the Yankees’ ace starter mentioned addressing the issues with his slider that troubled him in his last performance. He expressed confidence in having pinpointed the problem and successfully implementing the necessary correction.

Gerrit Cole stressed on maintaining a specific level of professionalism irrespective of the team’s position – whether leading the standings or facing elimination. However, he admitted that the excitement associated with having a chance to play in the World Series or playoff, which could provide motivation, is missing and one has to identify alternative methods to cultivate a similar energy and drive.

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