Yankees ace Gerrit Cole to make 2024 season debut Wednesday

Gerrit Cole Yankees
Gerrit Cole (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Gerrit Cole, the New York Yankees’ largest reinforcement yet, is headed back to the Bronx Bombers’ ranks. 

Manager Aaron Boone confirmed on the Talkin’ Yanks podcast on Monday that the veteran right-hander will make his season debut on Wednesday against the Baltimore Orioles. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner was sidelined during spring training due to an elbow injury that was originally tabbed as a near-dooming blow for a team whose starting rotation was uncertain. 

Cole, however, is coming into a pitching staff that is one of the very best in Major League Baseball. Luis Gil is a Cy Young candidate, Carlos Rodon recently saw a streak in which he won seven consecutive starts end, Marcus Stroman has a sub-3.00 ERA, and Nestor Cortes is proving to be a reliable enough option at the bottom of the rotation. 

It is as close to a full 180 as possible for a stable of starters that was carried by Cole last season. While the 33-year-old went 15-4 with a 2.63 ERA, Rodon had a 6.85 ERA, Cortes had a 4.97 ERA in just 12 starts, former-Yankee-turned-Met Luis Severino had the worst season of his career with a 6.65 ERA, and Gil was still recovering from Tommy John surgery. 

The Yankees made minimal moves to address the rotation, bringing in Stroman toward the latter portions of spring training — a philosophy that looked as though it would blow up in general manager Brian Cashman’s face after Cole was shelved on March 11 after complaining about issues recovering between his exhibition starts. With the concern of surgery looming, he visited Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles on March 14, who confirmed that there was no damage to his UCL, meaning rest and rehab was the proper recovery plan rather than a procedure. 

Cole participated in three rehab starts over the last two weeks, most recently tossing 4.1 innings for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday in which he allowed one run on two hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts.

For more on Gerrit Cole and the Yankees, visit AMNY.com