Yankees injury latest: Insider rings alarm on Gerrit Cole’s 2024 return

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole arrives in LA to meet Dr. Neal ElAttrache, April 13, 2024.
By Rav
Friday April 12, 2024

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There’s good news for the Yankees regarding ace Gerrit Cole. After being sidelined since March 11 due to nerve inflammation in his elbow, Cole resumed throwing on Monday without any reported issues.

However, the rash of pitching injuries across Major League Baseball this season has ESPN insider Buster Olney skeptical about Cole’s ability to return to the mound this year. The spate of arm problems plaguing pitchers league-wide has Olney cautioning that the Yankees ace’s recovery may face unforeseen complications, despite the positive initial step of him resuming throwing workouts.

The Yankees are closely monitoring Cole’s progress as they aim to get their dominant right-hander back on the field as soon as possible.

Buster Olney said on the “Baseball Tonight” podcast on Wednesday that with all the conversation around pitching injuries across the league, he was assuming Gerrit Cole would not come back this season. Olney acknowledged he doesn’t know the physical state of Cole’s elbow, as the Yankees pitcher just recently started throwing again. However, Olney expressed hope that Cole is able to return, but noted the injuries have been so pervasive that he is sure the Yankees are internally planning for the possibility that Cole may not be able to come back.

“It’s interesting: With everything we’ve seen with the conversation around pitching injuries, as (we) sit here today and we talk about whether Gerrit Cole will come back, I’m assuming he’s not,” Olney said. “And I don’t know — I don’t know what the phsyical state of his elbow is; he just started throwing. You hope he does come back. The injuries are so pervasive, I’m sure that internally the Yankees are planning on that.”

Despite the Yankees’ impressive 10-3 start to the season, ESPN’s Buster Olney cautioned that an important asterisk exists on their early success – the absence of ace Gerrit Cole.

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole watches solar eclipse at Yankee Stadium on April 8, 2024.

In a discussion with fellow ESPN reporter Tim Kurkjian, Olney acknowledged the Yankees have gotten off to a hot begin. However, he noted that Cole, one of the game’s most durable pitchers in recent years, has been sidelined since March 11 with nerve inflammation in his elbow.

The Yankees will undoubtedly need their workhorse ace back at full strength if they hope to maintain their strong start and cement their status as a top World Series contender this season.

Kurkjian said the Yankees have to be planning on Cole coming back, but they also have to be planning on him not coming back. He stated the Yankees better have a backup plan, as the increasing number of big-name pitchers going down with injuries “scares the life out of [him] for the game.”

“They have to be planning on him coming back. They also have to be planning on him not coming back. … They better have a Plan B,” Kurkjian said. “It scares the life out of me for the game that these big pitchers are going down.”

Yankees update on Gerrit Cole

While the loss of Gerrit Cole has loomed large over the Yankees’ hot start, the team has received some encouraging news on the injury front. According to MLB.com reporter Bryan Hoch, the Yankees’ ace has been making solid progress in his rehabilitation program and is expected to continue playing catch on Thursday.

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole

Cole, who has been sidelined since March 11 with nerve inflammation in his elbow, will throw approximately 25 pitches during his next throwing session. The right-hander will remain in New York while the Yankees hit the road to face the Guardians and Blue Jays, but he is still on track for a projected return in early June.

The Yankees have also gotten a boost from the continued recovery of another key player – infielder DJ LeMahieu. LeMahieu was seen taking on-field batting practice at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, and he will travel with the team to Cleveland and Toronto as he builds towards a return to game action. LeMahieu has been rehabbing a significant bruise on his right foot after fouling a ball off it.

While the Yankees eagerly await the return of their ace, these positive injury updates provide reason for optimism around the team’s depth and long-term outlook.

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