Yankees' Gerrit Cole injury update contains sliver of hope for his elbow

New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays
New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays / Cole Burston/GettyImages

Anything short of a season-ending injury to Gerrit Cole gives the 2024 New York Yankees hope, and with the possibility of Tommy John surgery looming -- which could knock Cole out through this year, past his opt-out, and into midseason 2025, fans were (internally) braced for the absolute worst on Wednesday.

MLB insider Jon Heyman checked in early enough Wednesday to avoid the ruination of another entire calendar day, and brought with his reporting an eye of optimism.

No, Cole's elbow isn't totally fine/clean and clear/good to go for Opening Day, but fans' primary coping mechanism regarding the delay in information was that the right-handed ace -- and the team -- was being more meticulous than usual given the amount of time and money invested in his success (on both sides of the equation.

Per Heyman, Cole could miss just 1-to-2 months, and all initial imaging failed to reveal a tear in the crucial elbow ligament that could result in complete surgical rehabilitation.

Bad news? Dr. Neal ElAttrache -- otherwise known as Mr. Tommy John -- does want to take an in-person look at Cole, which is where the right-hander's flying to at the moment. Still, ElAttrache didn't perceive a tear in his initial review of the data, either.

Gerrit Cole might've avoided worst-case scenario; who is Yankees' Opening Day starter?

No matter how long Cole's out, he will certainly miss Opening Day. Marcus Stroman is (shockingly) the less controversial of the Yankees' veteran options for the gig, edging out Carlos Rodón in that department. How about Clarke Schmidt for Game 2 and Rodón, out of the spotlight somewhat, in the third game of the year, all in Houston?

A less than ideal spot to open, certainly, and losing Cole only further casts a cloud over a place that's been a Yankees house of horrors for years.

As Heyman noted in the piece above, Masahiro Tanaka was able to pitch for the Yankees while nursing a "weakened" UCL, but many starters don't have the same ability. At the current point where Cole sits -- no tears detected, but certainly wear-and-tear present -- he'll have to continue hoping for a few more days that all ElAttrache sees is swelling, confirming his prior judgment.

It'll be a while, but at the very least, the Yankees have a chance to avoid losing Cole for the entirety of an all-important 2024. It could be the hope that kills them, ultimately, but it's nice for now.