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Yankees Notebook: Gerrit Cole’s next rehab start to come Sunday at Double-A Somerset

Gerrit Cole continues to progress toward a return to the Yankees’ rotation.

The Yankees ace is scheduled to start Sunday at Double-A Somerset, manager Aaron Boone said Friday, marking Cole’s second rehab outing as he works his way back from the right elbow inflammation that cropped up during spring training.

Sunday’s start is set to come five days after Cole’s first, during which the right-hander hurled 3.1 scoreless innings with Somerset on Tuesday. Cole, 33, threw 45 pitches in that appearance against Hartford, striking out five while registering 94-97 mph with his fastball.

“[I’m] definitely close,” Cole said after Tuesday’s outing. “I’m not sure how many more we’ll need, but definitely closer rather than farther away. It should be right around the corner.”

Cole will continue to build up his pitch count as he nears his return. On Wednesday, Boone said Cole still needed “a couple more” rehab appearances before rejoining the Yankees.

“That’s something we’ll continue to work through,” Boone said of Cole’s timeline. “Obviously, Gerrit will pour a lot into that, and we’ll just keep taking it day-by-day.”

Cole, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, was shut down in mid-March after only one spring training start and a simulated game. At the time, Cole reported having difficulty bouncing back between outings, prompting a battery of tests and a visit with renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

The six-time All-Star was ultimately diagnosed with inflammation and edema in his right elbow. He resumed playing catch on April 8 and began throwing off of a mound again on May 4.

Cole pitched to a 15-4 record, a 2.63 ERA, a 0.98 WHIP and 222 strikeouts in 209 innings last season en route to the first Cy Young Award of his career.

Now in the fifth season of a nine-year, $324 million contract, a healthy Cole would further bolster a Yankees pitching staff that entered Friday’s three-game series against the Dodgers in the Bronx with an MLB-best 2.81 ERA.


Clarke Schmidt continues to say he can beat the Yankees’ initial prognosis of four-to-six weeks without throwing due to a right lat strain.

Schmidt, 28, told the Daily News on Friday that the Yankees are in agreement with that assessment.

The right-hander went on the injured list late last month after experiencing discomfort during his last start, a five-inning outing in San Diego on May 26.

Schmidt is in the midst of a breakout season, boasting a 2.52 ERA through 60.2 innings.


With the star-powered Dodgers in town, former Los Angeles left-hander Caleb Ferguson weighed in on which of his ex-team’s stars is the toughest to pitch against.

Ferguson, whom the Yankees acquired from the Dodgers in an offseason trade, chose Freddie Freeman over fellow former MVPs Shohei Ohtani and Mookie Betts.

“His bat-to-ball is just unbelievable,” Ferguson told The News. “His hands are just so good. It just seems like there’s never any holes. I mean, I’ve seen people pitch him in ways where you’re like, ‘Man, when he hits that ball, it shouldn’t go there,’ but somehow it goes there.

“That’s no disrespect to Mookie or Ohtani,” the reliever added. “Both of those guys are clearly very good hitters.”

Ferguson was teammates with Betts and Freeman with the Dodgers and faced Ohtani when the latter was with the Angels.

With Gary Phillips


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