Source: Yankees ace Cole won’t need TJ surgery

Source: Yankees ace Cole won't need TJ surgery

The New York Yankees received positive news Thursday: Gerrit Cole was told that he will not need Tommy John surgery, at least for now, after visiting Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles, 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.

Cole made just one official spring training start, throwing 39 pitches over two-plus innings March 1, but pitched in a simulated game March 7. He threw 47 pitches to Yankees hitters across three innings.

Four days later, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Cole was scheduled to have an MRI on his right elbow after he reported not recovering as expected between outings. Cole underwent tests in Florida before traveling to Los Angeles for a second opinion.

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 onboard. Carlos Rodon registered 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.

The first question is who will start Opening Day in Cole’s place. Boone said he has made his decision but has declined to share it. It’s expected to be Cortes or Clarke Schmidt.

The next one is whether the Yankees will bolster their rotation with an external option or rely on Cole to return healthy to lead the group.

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. Instead, Cease was traded to the San Diego Padres on Wednesday.

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