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Gerrit Cole’s long-awaited Yankees return a successful outing

The last time Gerrit Cole took to a major league mound, he put the finishing touches on a season that was individually masterpiece but otherwise disastrous.

On September 27, Cole held the Blue Jays scoreless over nine innings, allowing just two hits, but his season ended four days later.

With the Yankees struggling and outside the playoff picture, Cole’s only goal was a Cy Young Award, which finally wasn’t so elusive.

Gerrit Cole made his 2024 season debut against the Orioles. Jason Senes, New York Post

A lot has changed in those 266 days since the start, including Cole’s warm-up song.

For their much-anticipated season debut, the Aces chose a melodic number by Rufus du Sol, with the apt refrain, “There’s no place I’d rather be than here.”

After missing nearly the first 12 weeks of the season due to nerve inflammation and swelling, Cole is finally feeling like his best.

The star right-hander made his 2024 debut Wednesday in a way that made Cole look almost like Cole.

In a game against the Orioles in the Bronx, Cole pitched four-plus innings, giving up three hits and two runs, walking one and striking out five.

Cole began the season on injured reserve with an elbow injury. Jason Senes, New York Post

He took some tough hits in the top of the first when Gunnar Henderson’s hard hit came off Gleyber Torres’ glove for a double and then Ryan O’Hearn’s double scored Henderson, but he got stronger as the night went on.

Of the six outs in the third and fourth innings, five came by strikeout.

But Cole, who made just three rehab starts in the minor leagues, is still a work in progress.

Cole returned to the major league mound and struck out five batters. Jason Senes, New York Post

He pitched in the fifth inning but only allowed one hit, a single to left field by Cedric Mullins.

He left the game to cheers after throwing 62 pitches, but silence soon followed. Ron Marinaccio came on and gave up a two-run homer to Ramon Urias to put the Yankees down 3-1.