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Yankees ace Gerrit Cole faces hitters for the first time since spring training

 The Associated Press  |    May 21st, 2024 4:22pm EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — Gerrit Cole walked onto the Yankee Stadium mound in full pinstriped uniform as New York teammates filled the dugout to watch their ace throw 20 pitches of batting practice.

“I feel pretty good, and the stuff looked pretty good,” he said. “I had some fun. It’s all positives.”

Cole faced batters for the first time since spring training, throwing to Oswaldo Cabrera and Jamai Jones 3 1/2 hours before Tuesday night’s game against Seattle. Asked why he pitched in full uniform, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner said simply: “Because I miss it.”

Manager Aaron Boone took notice of Cole’s attire.

“It places a seriousness on it. What it means to put on this uni,” Boone said.

Cole threw 11 fastballs, three changeups and two each of curveballs, sliders and changeups.

“It looked like it was coming out real easy. I thought he was sharp,” Boone said. “That’s a big step.”

Cole made one spring training start, on March 1, and the Yankees announced 10 days later the 33-year-old right-hander’s elbow was ailing. He was diagnosed with nerve inflammation and edema, and told to rest.

He didn’t throw off a mound again until May 5, the first of five bullpen sessions leading up to his initial BP.

“Less pain. It just feels better,” he said of the difference from two months earlier. “It’s mainly just been the fact that it’s been able to feel refreshed by the next time I get back off the mound.”

Cole said he anticipates one or two more BP sessions before starting a minor league rehabilitation assignment. He likely would have four or five minor league starts before rejoining the Yankees, a timeline that makes a late June return possible.

“I wouldn’t rule it out,” Cole said.

He said pitching coach Matt Blake cautioned him not to ramp up velocity too much. Cole averaged 96.7 mph last season.

“I hit 96 (mph) a couple times and Matt yelled at me, so then I had to throw at like 90 a few times to even it back out.” Cole said. “The objective is make sure we’re building at appropriate increments.”

He appreciated teammates watching his throwing session.

“They got here early. They adjusted their routine,” Cole said. “Obviously, it means a lot.”


Second baseman DJ LeMahieu, sidelined since breaking his right foot with a foul ball during a spring training game on March 16, was to resume his injury rehab stint with Class A Hudson Valley at Brooklyn on Tuesday night. The 35-year-old, a two-time batting champion, had six plate appearances with Double-A Somerset last weekend.

Boone said LeMahieu could be activated during a West Coast trip that starts Friday and ends June 2, most likely during a series at the Los Angeles Angels from May 28-30. LeMahieu was to get Wednesday off, play two days in a row, get Saturday off and then play Sunday.

“He’s stacked a couple good weeks in a row here,” Boone said.


Reliever Tommy Kahnle is to be activated Wednesday. The 34-year-old right-hander has been sidelined since spring training with shoulder inflammation and made five minor league rehab appearances, each a scoreless inning. He struck out eight and walked none.


Clayton Beeter, a 25-year-old right-hander who made his Yankees debut on March 29, was placed on the seven-day injured list at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre because of shoulder discomfort.


AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

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The Associated Press