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Yankees’ Cole has third bullpen session. Domínguez is ready to start a minor league rehab assignment

 The Associated Press  |    May 11th, 2024 3:26pm EDT

ST. PETERSBURG Fla. (AP) — New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole threw 29 pitches including breaking balls on Saturday in his third bullpen session since injuring his elbow in spring training.

Cole said he threw 13 curveballs and his fastball reached 89 mph in the workout before the Yankees played at Tampa Bay.

“Fastball profiles were good,” Cole said. “Location was good. Velocity was where we wanted. A lot of strikes.”

The right-hander is not sure how many more mound sessions he will have before facing hitters, but he said the plan is to simulate two innings in the next couple of outings.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said outfielder Jasson Domínguez will be the designated hitter for the first of two weeks starting Tuesday or Wednesday for Single-A Tampa. The 21-year-old had four homers and seven RBIs in seven games last September before hurting his right elbow, which required Tommy John surgery.

Infielder DJ LeMahieu, out with a right foot injury, took live batting practice off injured right-hander JT Brubaker at the Yankees’ complex in Tampa.

Boone said LeMahieu will face pitching again on Tuesday and is nearing a rehab assignment.

Brubaker, acquired from Pittsburgh on March 30, sat out last season following Tommy John surgery. He was the Pirates’ opening day starter in 2022.

Reliever Tommy Kahnle, on the injured list with a hurt right shoulder, struck out one during a perfect inning in his second outing with Single-A Tampa. The righty is set to join Double-A Somerset on Tuesday.

Cole will remain in Tampa after the Yankees conclude their three-game series with the Rays on Sunday. His next mound session could be Tuesday.

The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner has been on the 60-day IL with right elbow inflammation. He is not expected to make his season debut until at least June.

The 33-year-old right-hander was shut down in mid-March due to nerve inflammation and edema in his pitching elbow. He had trouble bouncing back between starts.

“We’re making good process (there),” Cole said Saturday.

Cole is entering the fifth season of a $324 million, nine-year contract that pays $36 million annually. He has the right to opt out after the season and become a free agent, but if he opts out the Yankees can void the optout by adding a guaranteed $36 million salary for 2029.

Last season, Cole became the first Yankees player to win the Cy Young since Roger Clemens in 2001. He was 15-4 with an AL-best 2.63 ERA and finished with 222 strikeouts.


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