Gerrit Cole ‘works some magic’ to join Yankees in Fenway

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole is entering Yankee Stadium on May 18, 2024.

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New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole arrived at Fenway Park on Saturday with a suitcase in tow and a broad smile on his face.

Cole, recovering from elbow inflammation, delivered an impressive performance in his third rehab start on Friday. Pitching for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, he allowed just two hits, one unearned run, no walks, and struck out 10 batters over 4.1 innings, throwing a total of 70 pitches.

His upbeat mood wasn’t solely due to his on-field rehab success. Gerrit Cole revealed he had faced a mechanical issue with his plane, causing uncertainty about his arrival in Boston. The Yankees ace admitted that he had to “work some magic” to make it, expressing his delight to be back with his team after an extended absence.

“I had a mechanical problem on my plane, so I wasn’t sure I was gonna get here,” he said, adding that he had to “work some magic” to make the trip. “I’m just excited to be here. I haven’t been on the road in a while.”

Having made it to Boston, Gerrit Cole is unsure when he will rejoin the Yankees’ rotation or if another rehab start is necessary. Both he and Yankees manager Aaron Boone indicated that they would discuss his next steps in the coming days.

Gerrit Cole reported feeling very good, both on his arrival day and the night before. He emphasized the importance of thoroughly analyzing the data from his rehab start, a process that typically takes a day. He expects to have a conversation about his future plans once all the relevant information is reviewed.

“I feel really good today, and I felt really good last night,” Gerrit Cole said. “So I want to look at the computer, too. It usually takes a day to process all the numbers and stuff. I think a conversation will probably happen when we get that information. My eyes said it was pretty good, so I’m assuming it’s going to be pretty good. But you just gotta be thorough in that situation. That’s what we’ve been doing the last few times, so that’s what we’ll do this time, too.”

Yankees' Gerrit Cole pitches during his rehab in Rochester on June 14, 2024.

A careful approach by Gerrit Cole

Despite his optimistic assessment of his performance, Gerrit Cole underscored the need for a meticulous evaluation of his progress. He noted that this careful approach has been a hallmark of his rehab journey and will continue to guide the decision on his return to the Yankees’ rotation.

Nearing a return from elbow inflammation, Gerrit Cole outlined the key factors influencing his decision on whether to resume at full or partial capacity. The reigning Cy Young winner stressed the importance of a thorough recovery, noting he has had no setbacks since starting his throwing program in early April.

The Yankees ace highlighted the significance of timing his return to face “the final level of competitiveness,” acknowledging the adrenaline that will accompany his 2024 debut. The Yankees ace is also mindful of not putting the Yankees or their bullpen in a difficult spot if he comes back with a partial buildup. But he anticipates he won’t be ready to throw 100 pitches in his first major league start of the season.

“It feels like it’s coming together,” he said. “Regardless, I don’t anticipate coming back with 100 pitches, so there’s still going to be a ways to go. But the closer and closer you get, the more excited you get.”

The pitcher, who struck out 10 batters over 4 ⅓ innings for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday, felt good physically on Saturday. He increased his pitch count to 70 in that outing, suggesting he could handle 80-85 pitches next time.

While acknowledging that he won’t be ready for a full 100-pitch workload, Cole is enthusiastic about his progress and the prospect of rejoining the Yankees. He emphasized that the decision on his next step will depend on his ongoing recovery and a detailed analysis of his latest performance, including metrics like velocity and location.

Gerrit Cole explained that it usually takes a day to process the data from his 70-pitch outing for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in Rochester, N.Y., where he pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowing no earned runs, walking none, giving up only two hits, and striking out 10.

As Gerrit Cole’s return nears, he expressed growing excitement, remarking, “It feels like it’s coming together.” He praised the collaborative approach taken during his rehab, involving multiple departments and perspectives. Given the success of this strategy, the current Cy Young winner sees no reason to change the decision-making process as he prepares to rejoin the Yankees’ rotation.

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

Will Gerrit Cole return against the Orioles?

Gerrit Cole brought an upbeat attitude to Fenway Park on Saturday, his smile reflecting a successful minor league rehab start the night before. A potential return date for Cole is June 20, when the Yankees face the Baltimore Orioles. The ace pitcher acknowledged the Orioles would be a strong test but emphasized the importance of a thorough assessment and review of all available data before making his next start.

Although no final decision has been made, Gerrit Cole and manager Aaron Boone plan to hold discussions in the coming days. Boone mentioned that while the upcoming series against the Orioles starting Tuesday could be a consideration when scheduling Gerrit Cole’s return, it won’t be the deciding factor.

While planning his comeback, Gerrit Cole hasn’t specifically considered a potential matchup with the rival Baltimore Orioles, though he conceded they would be a formidable test. The Orioles will begin a three-game series in the Bronx on Tuesday, raising the possibility that he could pitch on Wednesday or Thursday.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone emphasized that the choice of opponent won’t influence the decision, focusing instead on what’s best for Gerrit Cole and the team. The Yankees ace noted that while he has significant input, the final decision isn’t his alone. Boone acknowledged that Gerrit Cole will have a “huge say in that, especially if it involves another rehab start.”

Both Gerrit Cole and Boone underscored the collaborative nature of the decision-making process. Boone highlighted the importance of input from various experts involved in his rehab and praised the open, honest discussions that will take place.

The Yankees are keen to have their ace back in the rotation, and the upcoming conversations will determine whether Gerrit Cole’s next start will be with the major league club or if another rehab appearance is needed.

Manager Aaron Boone noted that no final decision has been made regarding Gerrit Cole’s next move. Cole himself will have significant input on whether he needs another minor league start or is ready to end his three-month rehab from right elbow irritation.

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

Boone, who watched the first two innings of Gerrit Cole’s rehab start during a rain delay at Fenway Park and later reviewed the highlights, expressed satisfaction with the pitcher’s progress. He noted that while the focus isn’t solely on results, His ability to locate pitches has been impressive throughout his rehab starts, including his first two with Double-A Somerset.

A minor hiccup in Gerrit Cole’s weekend plans occurred when a mechanical issue delayed his flight to Boston on Saturday. Despite this, he arrived well before the Yankees’ game against the Red Sox and expressed his excitement to rejoin the team, as his rehab had limited his travel with them on road trips.

Gerrit Cole is nearing a return from right elbow irritation and is expected to be limited to 85 pitches in his next outing. Yankees manager Aaron Boone indicated that this pitch count could be enough for him to rejoin the major league roster if he feels prepared.

Gerrit Cole, who doesn’t anticipate reaching a full 100-pitch workload immediately, acknowledged there is still progress to be made. Nonetheless, he expressed growing excitement as he inched closer to his return.

Should Gerrit Cole require another rehab start, his MLB debut for the 2024 season might be delayed until June 25, when the Yankees face the Mets at Citi Field. Although he will have significant input regarding his return, the decision will be a collective one.

Gerrit Cole highlighted the successful collaboration between different departments and the incorporation of various viewpoints throughout his rehab. Given the positive outcomes so far, he sees no reason to alter this approach.

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