Yankees’ Gerrit Cole reaches next big rehab milestone, set to pitch live hitters today

Yankees Gerrit Cole is at Yankee Stadium on May 18, 2024, after his fifth bullpen season.
Michael Bennington
Tuesday May 21, 2024

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New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole is making steady progress in his recovery from elbow inflammation that sidelined him during spring training. The next significant milestone in the right-hander’s rehab journey is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, where he will face live hitters in a batting practice session.

Gerrit Cole recently cleared another hurdle by completing a two-part bullpen session on Saturday, throwing 40 pitches in total with hitters present in the batter’s box, demonstrating his commitment to returning to the mound as soon as possible. It was his fifth bullpen season.

Throwing to live batters is a crucial step that will allow Gerrit Cole to test his elbow against real opposition, gauging his readiness to progress further in his rehabilitation program. If he navigates through a few of these sessions without any setbacks or lingering discomfort, Gerrit Cole will then progress to pitching in minor league rehab games, where he can fine-tune his mechanics and build up his pitch count before ultimately making his much-anticipated season debut.

Gerrit Cole, a New York Yankees player, was spotted with some dedicated young fans at the Yankee Stadium Museum
New York Yankees

No timeline yet for Gerrit Cole’s Yankees return

While the Yankees have not publicly disclosed a specific timeline for Gerrit Cole’s return, it appears plausible that he could take the mound for the first time this season in late June or early July, provided he continues to respond well to each progressive step in his rehabilitation program and encounters no unexpected obstacles along the way.

Manager Aaron Boone stressed the significance of Gerrit Cole’s upcoming live batting practice, acknowledging the added intensity and adrenaline that comes with facing hitters in a more competitive setting. Boone emphasized the importance of the Yankees ace stringing together multiple positive days in his recovery, with each successful step bringing him closer to rejoining the rotation and contributing to the team’s success this season. The Yankees organization and fans alike eagerly await Gerrit Cole’s return, recognizing his vital role in the team’s pursuit of a World Series championship.

Yankees' rotation stars Carlos Rodon, Nestor Cortes, and Gerrit Cole are with Aaron Judge at George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa, Fl, during the 2024 spring training.

The New York Yankees’ starting rotation has been performing exceptionally well in Gerrit Cole’s absence, boasting a 3.00 ERA through Sunday, which ranked third-best in the majors. The Phillies (2.63) and Red Sox (2.70) were the only teams with better starting pitching ERAs.

Each of the five starters has excelled, particularly Gerrit Cole’s replacement, rookie Luis Gil. In nine starts, Gil has posted a 5-1 record with a 2.39 ERA, placing him eighth in the American League. The other starters have also been impressive, with all of them ranking in the top 25 in the AL: Clarke Schmidt (5-1, 2.49) is ninth, Carlos Rodon (5-2, 3.27) is 19th, Marcus Stroman (3-2, 3.33) is 21st, and Nestor Cortes (2-4, 3.56) is 23rd.

Manager Aaron Boone praised the starting rotation’s consistency as the team approached the 50-game mark, emphasizing that their ability to give the team a chance to win each night has been a key factor in their success. However, Boone also stressed the importance of maintaining this level of performance and continuing to improve, noting that their past achievements are now behind them. He expressed optimism that reinforcements, such as Gerrit Cole’s eventual return, will further bolster the team as they progress through the season.

“Yeah, it’s important. Bouncing back from a two-up bullpen with some guys standing in on him, and I know [he was] feeling good yesterday coming in,” the Yankees manager said. “We just want to continue to progress and continue to stack good days, and that’s another step along the way of getting out there on the bump and facing hitters. I’m sure there’s an added little adrenaline that goes with that. All important steps on his return.”

Sources within the Yankees organization indicate their ace is likely to return in the third week of June..

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