Yankees News: DJ LeMahieu rehab, Gerrit Cole update, Luis Gil franchise history

Oakland Athletics v New York Yankees
Oakland Athletics v New York Yankees / New York Yankees/GettyImages

What a weekend! The New York Yankees swept the ever-loving heck out of the Chicago White Sox to increase their AL East lead. Aaron Judge continued his surge. Juan Soto rose back from a mini slumber. The pitching staff kept rolling.

Fans can now picture a world in which realistic reinforcements can make the team even better. Hard to believe, right?

For starters, we have DJ LeMahieu, who started his rehab assignment (again) with Double-A Somerset. He had to leave his last attempt at a comeback in late April after just one inning when his foot injury was re-aggravated.

This time around, LeMahieu was back in action on May 17. He took off May 18 but then put up his best showing in quite some time on Sunday. He went 1-for-1 with an RBI, two runs scored and three walks against the Portland Sea Dogs in what was a win for the Patriots.

Manager Aaron Boone said LeMahieu returning to the big-league roster in time for the team's west coast road trip this coming Friday probably isn't realistic because the veteran will need a longer buildup as well as baked in off days given all the time he's missed.

Perhaps he flies out to Anaheim during the team's off day next Monday? Who's to say, but the progress so far has been solid.

Yankees News: Gerrit Cole throws another bullpen in recovery from elbow inflammation

Thankfully, the Yankees don't need LeMahieu right now, so he can take all the time he wants. And somehow ... the same goes for Gerrit Cole?

The Yankees have the best ERA in the sport without their ace, who has been recovering from elbow inflammation since late March. Cole has made progress, but the timetable continues to be pushed back (or, at least, made unclear so the right-hander can take his time).

Fans thought Cole might return by the beginning of June, but right now it's looking more like the All-Star break. Nobody's getting impatient, though, because Cole's health is the most important factor here. And on Saturday he threw another bullpen session as he increases his arm strength after a long layoff.

Another week or two of bullpens, followed by live batting practice, then simulated games, then a rehab assignment should be how it unfolds. Assuming all goes well, the Yankees could have Cole at his peak powers for the second half of 2024.

Yankees News: Luis Gil makes franchise history with incredible performance

In the meantime, Cole's been doing a great job advising the rest of the pitching staff, as Luis Gil mentioned after his historic performance on Saturday. In fact, he called Cole a "professor." The Yankees rookie struck out 14 batters in a win over the White Sox, which broke El Duque's franchise record.

An insane wrinkle to this story line? El Duque threw out the first pitch of Saturday's game in a bizarre instance of cosmic fate.

Gil now has an unbelievable 2.39 ERA, 3.13 FIP and 1.08 FIP with 62 strikeouts in nine starts (49 innings) this season. He's allowed 4.8 hits per nine innings, which leads the AL, and just 0.6 home runs per nine. His turnaround post-Tommy John surgery has been underappreciated across the league.

Gil doesn't need to worry, though. Yankees fans are on top of it and are making sure he receives his flowers.