Positive Gerrit Cole injury update renews Yankees' hope (without return timeline)

Miami Marlins v New York Yankees
Miami Marlins v New York Yankees / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

Yankees fans who've been left desperately wondering when Gerrit Cole might be returning (or anyone who can throw six innings, really) got a glimmer of hope delivered to them on Wednesday.

Cole was among the first ace-level pitchers to succumb to an elbow issue in 2024, but he's hardly been the last; most of the prognoses that have followed in his injury's wake have been far worse than what was recommended by Dr. ElAttrache to treat his inflammation. Cole was prescribed rest and recovery, but was placed on the 60-Day IL prior to Opening Day, extinguishing any faint hope that he might be ready before June.

Still -- as fans continue to knock on all the wood in the New York metro area -- it seems like he'll be back to help the Yankees at some point this season, as long as his elbow continues to check all its boxes (last time he spoke with the broadcast crew in Arizona, he was pain-free).

Per Aaron Boone, Cole took the next step on Wednesday, planning to throw for the second day in a row, with two more to come by the end of the week. He's currently in "increasing distance" mode.

"Getting on a mound" mode? Eh, TBD on that. But this is progress.

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole (elbow injury) will throw four times this week ... but not off a mound

The Yankees have no timeline for a bullpen session, rehab assignment, or 2024 regular-season debut as of yet. They've likely got one in mind -- and if Cole's going to hit the early June targets fans have mentally mapped out for him, he's probably going to have to get to a mound in the next three weeks.

Remember, he missed most of spring training, only participating long enough to get dogwalked by Daniel Vogelbach. In addition to the caution that must be exhibited with any elbow injury, the Yankees also have to factor in a March-like slow build for Cole.

For now, though, who cares about a timeline? Even baby steps should be celebrated, as long as they don't result in lingering soreness the next morning. Any Cole in 2024 should be viewed as a helpful amount of Cole, and any progress towards his return qualifies as good news, especially with the harrowing state of baseball today.