Gerrit Cole Rehab Start: How Did the Yankees’ Star Pitch in Double-A?

New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole was officially back on a mound against an opposing team Tuesday.

Cole made his first rehab assignment at the Double-A level for the Somerset Patriots against the Hartford Yard Goats.

Cole went four innings, throwing 45 pitches (34 strikes and 11 balls), and allowing just two hits and zero walks while striking out five batters.

Gerrit Cole
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 21: Gerrit Cole #45 of the New York Yankees throws from the mound before a game against the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium on May 21, 2024 in New…

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Yankees manager Aaron Boone said before New York’s game on Tuesday that Cole would throw 40-50 pitches in this start, and would need to make “at least a few” rehab starts before returning to a big league mound, per The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner.

Cole looked good on Tuesday, and will try to continue that momentum in his next few rehab starts as he builds himself back up.

The Yankees won’t rush back Cole, who hasn’t pitched this season after feeling elbow discomfort in spring training. The Yankees’ rotation has been arguably the best in Major League Baseball even without their ace, but recently suffered a blow when right-handed pitcher Clarke Schmidt went on the injured list with a right lat strain. That injury will keep him sidelined for the foreseeable future.

Read more: Yankees Starting Rotation Makes MLB History, Even Without Gerrit Cole

Still, the Yankees enter Tuesday’s series opener against the Minnesota Twins at 42-19 and in first place in the American League East. They’ll ensure Cole is 100 percent ready to return to their rotation and make an immediate impact as they compete with the Baltimore Orioles for a division title.

When Cole got hurt back in the spring, initial reports had him returning sometime in June. If he makes a few more rehab starts over the course of his next few weeks, he could be right in line for a late-June return to the Yankees.

In the meantime, the Yankees will continue to utilize a rotation of Luis Gil, Marcus Stroman, Nestor Cortes and Carlos Rodon, with Cody Poteet likely filling in for Schmidt as the No. 5 starter.

Heading into Tuesday’s game, Yankees starters have a combined 2.78 earned-run average, best in the American League and trailing only the Philadelphia Phillies (2.71) for the best in Major League Baseball.

Cole, the reigning AL Cy Young award winner, had a 2.63 ERA in 33 starts and 209 innings pitched last season. He’s been the ace of the Yankees’ rotation since he signed as a free agent ahead of the 2020 season, after spending the first seven years of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Houston Astros.