Yankees injury update: Cole’s rapid rehab a boost, Boone measured on LeMahieu

Gerrit Cole and Dj LeMahieu of the New York Yankees.
John Allen
Sunday May 19, 2024

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As Gerrit Cole continues to ramp up his rehab workload, the Yankees ace is beginning to feel a growing sense of anticipation. On Saturday, he took a significant step forward by throwing a 40-pitch bullpen session, simulating two innings of work, a notable increase from his previous four sessions that focused on a single inning.

The bullpen session of the Yankees ace was divided into two parts, with 20 pitches thrown in each segment, separated by a brief rest period. Oswaldo Cabrera and Jahmai Jones stood in the batter’s box without swinging, providing a visual reference for the right-hander.

Assuming Cole recovers well from this increased workload, the next milestone in his rehab journey could involve facing live hitters in batting practice. This would mark the first time he has done so since being sidelined in March due to elbow nerve inflammation and edema. In a conversation with The Post before the Yankees’ 6-1 victory over the White Sox at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, the Yankees ace acknowledged the possibility of taking this step early in the upcoming week.

While the reigning AL Cy Young winner is cautious about getting too far ahead of himself, recognizing that there are still numerous hurdles to clear before a potential return in late June or early July, the Yankees star’s enthusiasm about his progress and physical well-being is palpable.

Cole expressed his satisfaction with the day’s session, describing it as “a really good day” and “a lot of fun.” He noted the presence of stand-ins and his ability to incrementally increase his velocity. With his fastball sitting in the low 90s and the incorporation of his full-pitch repertoire, the Yankees ace indicated that the rehab process is starting to feel more tangible as he gradually intensifies his workload.

“It’s starting to come,” Cole remarked, hinting at the growing anticipation of his eventual return to the mound.

As Gerrit Cole’s rehab progression continues, pitching coach Matt Blake has observed a growing eagerness in the Yankees ace to return to the mound. Blake emphasized the significance of Cole successfully completing each stage of his rehab, noting that with every session, the right-hander is gaining confidence in his arm’s ability to recover and maintain the quality of his pitches. Given Cole’s current position in the rehab process, the coaching staff is encouraged by his progress.

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

The next step in Cole’s journey will be determined by how well he responds to Saturday’s two-inning bullpen session. The Yankees’ pitching coach indicated that Cole would either advance to facing live hitters or repeat the two-inning bullpen, depending on his body’s reaction. Once Cole progresses to live batting practice sessions, he will require several of these before embarking on a rehab assignment.

Considering that spring training typically spans six weeks, and taking into account Cole’s current stage in his rehab, the Yankees estimate that he may need a similar amount of time, or possibly slightly less before he is ready to return to the active roster. Once the Yankees ace begins his rehab assignment, a 30-day clock will commence.

However, the Yankees are committed to exercising caution throughout Cole’s rehab process, ensuring that they get the best and healthiest version of their ace when he eventually returns. The team’s patience is aided by the fact that the starting rotation has been a strength even in Cole’s absence, boasting a 3.03 ERA through 46 starts, which ranks as the third-lowest mark in the majors.

Yankees manager ‘realistic’ on LeMahieu’s return

DJ LeMahieu‘s second rehab stint has commenced more favorably than his initial attempt, but Yankees manager Aaron Boone has indicated that it is improbable for the versatile infielder to make his season debut with the team by the start of their upcoming West Coast trip, set to begin next Friday.


Before the Yankees’ 4-2 victory over the White Sox on Friday, Boone expressed his belief that a return for LeMahieu within a week was not a realistic expectation. He elaborated on the necessity for LeMahieu to gradually build up his workload and incorporate rest days into his rehab schedule. While Boone acknowledged the possibility of LeMahieu rejoining the team at some point during the road trip, he did not anticipate it happening right from the outset.

“I think a week [from now] is probably not realistic because he’ll need a little bit of buildup and some off days,’’ Boone said. “I think [his return] is possible at some point on the trip, but I don’t expect it to be the start of it, certainly.”

The Yankees third baseman, who has been sidelined for the entire season due to a non-displaced foot fracture, saw action at third base for Double-A Somerset, playing three innings without any defensive chances.

Offensively, LeMahieu collected one hit in two at-bats, reaching base on an infield single in his first plate appearance.

Following the game, Boone reported that LeMahieu experienced no physical issues during his rehab outing.

“Everything was fine,” the Yankees manager affirmed.

Assuming LeMahieu’s progress continues unimpeded, he is slated to participate in another rehab game on Sunday.

As with other challenges they have faced, the Yankees have successfully navigated the absence of the 35-year-old LeMahieu throughout the season thus far.

Kahnle set to rejoin Yankees next week

Tommy Kahnle running sprints on the field at Steinbrenner Field, the Yankees Spring training complex in Tampa Florida. Tommy Kahnle running sprints on the field at Steinbrenner Field, the Yankees Spring training complex in Tampa Florida.

Tommy Kahnle‘s potential return to the Yankees’ bullpen appears to be on the horizon following an impressive rehab appearance on Thursday. The right-handed reliever has been sidelined for the entirety of the season thus far due to shoulder inflammation, but manager Aaron Boone has hinted at the possibility of Kahnle rejoining the team as early as Tuesday.

Boone outlined the next steps in Kahnle’s rehab process, stating that the pitcher is scheduled to take the mound once again on Sunday. Following that outing, the team will assess Kahnle’s progress and decide regarding his readiness to be activated from the injured list.

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