Yankees’ Gerrit Cole (elbow) to resume throwing soon

With arm injuries plaguing pitchers across the league, Gerrit Cole is about to take a step in the right direction after elbow inflammation forced him to miss the start of the 2024 season.

Aaron Boone said Sunday that the Yankees’ ace will start playing catch in “the next couple of days.” The manager added that that could happen as soon as Monday or Tuesday, though he wasn’t exactly sure.

During the Yankees’ recent trip to Arizona, Cole said that he no longer felt any pain in his elbow, which had trouble recovering between spring training outings.

Cole is on the 60-day injured list and can’t return until at least May 27. He will need to go through a full spring training routine before he can make his season debut.

Cole’s positive progression comes at a time when the injury bug is biting pitchers especially hard. The Yankees just lost Jonathan Loáisiga to season-ending UCL surgery, while Cleveland’s Shane Bieber, Miami’s Eury Pérez and Atlanta’s Spencer Strider are among those who recently suffered serious elbow injuries.

Those injuries prompted a statement from the Major League Baseball Players Association on Saturday. In it, the union bashed Major League Baseball’s implementation of the pitch clock two seasons ago and the league’s decision to reduce time last December without studying the effects of “these profound changes.”

The MLBPA added that rules regarding the clock represented “an unprecedented threat to our game and its most valuable asset – the players.”

The league shot back, stating that an independent analysis by Johns Hopkins University “found no evidence to support that the introduction of the pitch clock has increased injuries.”

However, Boone thinks the clock may be partly responsible.

“I think it could be one of the factors,” he said. “It’s possible. I don’t know that for sure. But I think everything’s kind of on the table and probably part of the stew that’s causing some of this.”

MLB’s rebuttal took aim at other potential factors: velocity and spin rate.

It’s no longer rare for pitchers to throw in the high-90s, and modern technology has taught them to manipulate the ball in various ways that can put more stress on the arm. Boone said the fixation with velo and break — an obsession that players and teams share — is also responsible.

“Throwing is not the most natural motion,” Boone said. “I think velocity certainly is part of it, but it’s just stuff overall. Breaking stuff, whatever it may be. Guys have come so far in their training. It’s why you see so many people with so much quality stuff. And then it becomes a bit of an arms race. If you want to pitch nowadays, it’s hard to not chase what your competition is doing.”

Boone feels that advances have been made in how pitchers ramp up safely. However, recent injuries indicate that there’s still work to be done — and issues to examine — when it comes to protecting players.

“There’s no easy answer for it,” Boone said. “It is disturbing, the amount of injuries that are happening.”

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