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New York Yankees targeting Tuesday for return of ace Gerrit Cole

Sep 7, 2021; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) leaves the field with the trainer against the Toronto Blue Jays during the fourth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 7, 2021; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) leaves the field with the trainer against the Toronto Blue Jays during the fourth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole is progressing from his left hamstring injury and could return to the rotation as soon as Tuesday.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone indicated he was “probably learning toward Tuesday” against the Baltimore Orioles, but he also wants to see how Cole feels after Saturday’s bullpen session.

“That will tell us a lot,” Boone told reporters before Friday night’s game against the New York Mets. “It will be one of those final checkmarks that we’ve got to go through, but we’re feeling good and optimistic at least about him being inserted early next week.”

Cole was injured during Tuesday’s start against the Toronto Blue Jays, when the American League Cy Young contender departed in the fourth inning.

The right-hander told reporters that he’s confident the hamstring is making solid improvement.

“I haven’t had anything that’s made me apprehensive to move since then,” Cole said. “It’s recovered pretty well.”

Cole is eager to get back on the mound with the Yankees in a deep slump. New York has dropped six straight games and 10 of its last 12.

“Of course, it’s the stretch run — it’s at the forefront of all of our minds,” Cole said, referencing the American League wild-card chase in which the Yankees are one of five teams battling for the two spots.

Cole, who turned 31 on Wednesday, is 14-7 with a 2.78 ERA and is tied for the major league lead with 217 strikeouts in 26 starts this season.

–Field Level Media