Source: Yankees ace Cole won't need TJ surgery



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The New York Yankees received positive news Thursday: Gerrit Cole was informed he will not need Tommy John surgery, at least for now, after visiting Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles for a second opinion on his right elbow, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed to ESPN.

Cole has been advised to rest and undergo noninvasive treatment, and will be shut down for at least a month, a source said. The Yankees have not given a timetable for Cole’s return.

Cole made just one Grapefruit League start this spring, throwing 39 pitches over two-plus innings March 1. He pitched in a simulated game March 7 rather than in a Grapefruit League game later that day, throwing 47 pitches to Yankees hitters across three innings.

On Monday, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Cole was scheduled to undergo tests on his right elbow after he reported not recovering as expected after the outings. Cole had an MRI, CT scan and X-rays in Florida before traveling to Los Angeles to see ElAttrache.

Cole, 33, has not missed time for a non-COVID ailment since going on the injured list with elbow inflammation in September 2016. He has made at least 30 starts in every full season since 2017. Last season — his fourth on a nine-year, $324 million contract — he went 15-4 with a 2.63 ERA in 209 innings across 33 outings to win his first Cy Young Award.

The Yankees will have to navigate at least the start of the season with a starting rotation that already featured uncertainty even with their ace in the picture. Carlos Rodon recorded a nightmare first season in the Bronx. Nestor Cortes was plagued by two stints on the injured list, while injuries also hindered Marcus Stroman down the stretch after a strong first half with the Chicago Cubs.

It is unclear who will start Opening Day in place of Cole, who has made the start the past four seasons for the Yankees. Boone said he has made his decision but has declined to share it. It’s expected to be Cortes, Clarke Schmidt or a bullpen game.

Another question is whether the Yankees will bolster their rotation with an external option or rely on Cole to return healthy during the season.

Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery and Michael Lorenzen are still available in free agency. The Yankees were interested in trading for Dylan Cease but weren’t willing to pay the price the Chicago White Sox sought in a trade. Instead, Cease was sent to the San Diego Padres on Wednesday.

Thursday’s news was first reported by the New York Post.



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