Gerrit Cole's dominant rehab start shows he's ready to return to Yankees

Mar 29, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole smiles during batting practice before the game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 29, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole smiles during batting practice before the game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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As Luis Gil continues to carve up the opposition in MLB against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night, the New York Yankees' other dominant ace is on the mend and nearing a return to the big-league roster.

Gerrit Cole had his first rehab start since going down with elbow inflammation during spring training. The right-hander was at Double-A Somerset on Tuesday, and there's a possibility he's back with the team for the series against the Red Sox from July 14-16.

Cole certainly still needs some time to build up his arm strength, but fans really couldn't have asked for a better outing in his first official action since the end of February.

The right-hander didn't surrender a run across 3 1/3 innings of work. He allowed just two hits, walked nobody, and struck out five. He threw 45 pitches (34 of them were strikes) and hit 98 MPH on the radar gun. That's the good stuff.

Gerrit Cole's dominant rehab start shows he's ready to return to Yankees

It was a bad night to be a Hartford Yard Goat, that's for sure. Oops, well, it was for 3 1/3 innings. Right after Cole was removed from the game, Hartford took a 3-1 lead, with some miscues and hard contact dooming the Patriots.

Anyway, not the point. Cole's situation in 2024 has been a really difficult topic for Yankees fans. For the first time since 2019, this roster looks "for real," and it was a shame Cole couldn't be attending the party to begin the campaign. And in everybody's worst nightmare before there was more clarity surrounding his injury, Cole would miss an all-important 2024 campaign that guaranteed them one year of Juan Soto.

Thankfully, Cole's injury was handled carefully and cautiously. He's had ample time to get comfortable and get back to full strength without any pressure as the Yankees stepped up and steamrolled the rest of the league up until this point (they have the best record and the best starting rotation).

Without Gerrit Cole. Who is probably coming back in 10 days. Just think about that for a second.