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Yankees’ Gerrit Cole dominates with 10 strikeouts in rehab start

BOSTON — Gerrit Cole whiffed repeatedly on Friday night in Rochester.

The next time he takes the mound could be in the Bronx.

Making his third rehab start since returning from elbow neuritis, Cole struck out 10 batters while allowing just two hits and one earned run over 4 1/3 innings for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Cole increased his pitch count to 70, eliciting 22 strikeouts and averaging 94.6 mph with his four-seam fastball, reaching a top speed of 97.8 mph.


Yankees’ Gerrit Cole was another strong performer in his rehab start. AP

Manager Aaron Boone wouldn’t say before Friday’s game whether it would be Cole’s final game before returning from the 60-day injured list and making his season debut.

“We’ll see what happens,” Boone said before the Yankees opened the series with a win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park. “We’ll get through that first, and then we’ll sit back and see what happens and see if we need one more win or if this is it. We don’t know yet.”

During Cole’s rehab assignment, manager Boone had cleared the way for Cole to complete his training in the major leagues by not requiring him to throw 85-90 pitches before returning (though he would likely be able to throw 80-85 pitches when he next takes to the mound).

Boone also said Cole may pitch fewer pitches in his first game with the Yankees because the adrenaline will be higher than anything he’s experienced in any minor league game.

If the Yankees decide Cole is ready to return, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner could make his 2024 debut on Wednesday or Thursday against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium.

But Cole will likely have a big influence in determining whether he’s ready to return for his next start.


Gerrit Cole
Gerrit Cole has made three rehab appearances so far. Bill Costloan/New York Post

“We want to see him hit his breaking point tonight and show what he’s capable of,” Boone said. “Obviously the adrenaline level will be different than when he first came back with us, but making sure he gets through it and bounces back is what’s important to us.” [Saturday] “What will it be like when he wakes up and starts moving? We’ll all be talking about that over the next 24 to 48 hours.”

Once he’s ready, Cole is expected to earn a spot in the rotation to replace Cody Poteet, who has served well in place of the injured Clark Schmidt.

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