Yankees’ Gerrit Cole to ‘double check’ plan despite good 43-pitch session

Gerrit Cole is pitching during his 43-pitch live session at the Yankees Minor League complex in Tampa on May 30, 2024.

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Gerrit Cole took another step forward in his rehab process on Thursday, throwing 43 pitches in a simulated game at the Yankees’ player development complex in Tampa. While manager Aaron Boone didn’t officially announce the ace’s next step, he indicated there’s a “good chance” the reigning AL Cy Young winner could begin a rehab assignment as soon as Tuesday if he recovers well over the next few days.

“That’s definitely a possibility,” Boone said before the Yankees’ 8-3 win over the Angels. He noted that Gerrit Cole was “pretty pleased” with how the simulated outing went and how he felt afterward. “Assuming everything goes well, good chance at a rehab next,” the manager added.

Gerrit Cole cautious despite following the right direction

After the session, Yankees ace Gerrit Cole expressed his satisfaction with his performance, indicating to reporter John Brophy that he was able to deliver all his pitches effectively without any complications. The upcoming phase in Cole’s recovery process could be crucial, as it may involve a rehab start with one of the Yankees’ minor-league affiliates, a direction that seems likely based on Gerrit Cole’s comments from the Yankees’ player development complex.

However, the ace seems to be a little bit cautious. “I’ll have to double-check, but it seems like the direction it’s going,” Gerrit Cole said.

Gerrit Cole is with catcher Antonio Gomez after 43-pitch live at the Yankees Minor League complex in Tampa on May 30, 2024.
John Brophy

Assuming his recovery progresses smoothly, Gerrit Cole is slated to throw again sometime in the middle of the following week. This development comes after a setback in March when he was forced to shut down due to unsatisfactory recovery.

During Thursday’s session, Gerrit Cole simulated game-like conditions by completing three-ups, which involved sitting and then pitching again. This followed his previous live batting practice sessions on May 21, where he threw 20 pitches, and on May 25, where he increased his workload to 30 pitches with two-ups.

As of now, the Yankees have not determined the number of minor-league starts they want Gerrit Cole to make or the extent to which they want him to be built up before rejoining the major-league roster. However, Cole has recently expressed optimism about the possibility of returning from the injured list before July.

Once Cole begins a minor league rehab assignment, it will start a 30-day clock for his return to the Yankees’ rotation, potentially lining him up to rejoin the team by late June or early July. The Yankees are expected to use most of those 30 days to properly build up Cole’s workload, as they have been cautious throughout his rehab process so far.  

They are not anticipated to rush Cole back any sooner despite Clarke Schmidt being sidelined for 4-6 weeks with a lat strain that could keep him out until at least August. Boone indicated the Yankees want to handle Cole’s final rehab steps methodically rather than expediting his return due to Schmidt’s injury.

Boone press MLB for the interference rule change

Yankees' Juan Soto and umpire are arguing over the controversial interference call vs. the Angels on May 29, 2024 at Anaheim.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone believes Major League Baseball needs to change the rule that cost his team in Wednesday night’s loss to the Angels. Juan Soto was called for interference after getting caught between first and second base on an infield fly rule pop-up.

It was an almost identical play to one that occurred last week in a White Sox-Orioles game. After that incident, Chicago’s Pedro Grifol predicted fielding teams would try to get extra outs in that scenario by making contact with the runner.

Boone discussed the matter with MLB on Thursday. While acknowledging the umpires applied the rule correctly, he said the league should re-examine it to avoid similar controversies in important games down the road.  

Boone argued that on an infield fly with a runner on first, any contact with the runner should immediately render the play dead with just the batter out. He said it defies “common sense” for the defense to be able to turn an easy double play instead.

“I’m just making the case that they gotta change the rule,” Boone said. “Anyone with common sense watching that — god forbid we get in a playoff game or a huge game at some point. You watch that with common sense and you go, ‘That’s dumb that that’s a double play.'”

The Yankees manager wondered what a runner is supposed to do in that situation when at risk of being doubled off. He worries the current rule incentivizes infielders to “seek out contact” for an extra out, which he feels looks bad for the sport.

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