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Yankees Ace Likely Out for Opening Day as Team Awaits MRI Results

The New York Yankees announced on Monday that reigning AL Cy Young winner Gerrit Cole would have an MRI for right elbow “discomfort.” Cole has been the Yankees’ Opening Day starter since signing a nine-year, $324 million contract with New York before the 2020 season. Now with Cole likely to miss Opening Day with elbow discomfort, the Yankees have started to consider their other options.

Gerrit Cole In Doubt for Opening Day Following MRI

According to manager Aaron Boone, the 33-year-old right-hander has not been recovering well in between his outings, which was cause for concern. The Yankees plan to get multiple opinions and are not planning to have a definitive answer for a few days. Cole made one Grapefruit League start against Toronto on March 1st and pitched in a simulated game six days later. Boone said that Cole was scheduled for more testing on Tuesday to make sure that their bases were all covered. Even if Cole’s imaging comes back clean, he only has one spring start under his belt and likely would not be ready for Opening Day in two weeks. The Yankees have already begun conversations about who their Opening Day starter would be assuming Cole is unavailable. Boone expects to have a new Opening Day starter named in the next few days.

Opening Day Alternatives

The Yankees would likely turn to either Carlos Rodón or Marcus Stroman to take the mound on Opening Day if Cole is unavailable. Both pitchers have experience as an Opening Day starter, with Stroman being the most recent of the two. Rodón signed a six-year, $162 million contract with the Yankees in 2022 after spending a year with the San Francisco Giants. The two-time All-Star was limited to just 14 starts after spending most of the season on the injured list.

Rodón struggled in his first year in New York, pitching to a 6.85 ERA over 64 1/3 innings. The Yankees signed Marcus Stroman to a two-year deal this offseason after spending two years with the Chicago Cubs. In 2023, Stroman earned his second All-Star selection, pitching to a 3.95 ERA and making 25 starts for Chicago. The newest member of the Yankees rotation has impressed in camp and would likely get the Opening Day nod over Rodón.

Losing Cole would be devastating to the Yankees not just because of his excellence, but for his durability as well. Cole has been a constant for the Yankees, never missing a start in his first four years in pinstripes. The Yankees are hoping for the best for their ace, even if it means that Cole misses Opening Day.


Photo Credit: © Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports


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