Gerrit Cole strikes out 10 in third rehab start; return to Yankees next?

Cole has 19 strikeouts and zero walks in 12 1/3 innings over three rehab starts.

Gerrit Cole's next start could very well come with the New York Yankees after making three rehab appearances. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Aaron Boone didn't reveal much, but New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole looks ready to return to the rotation.

Cole pitched in his third rehab start on Friday with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and was dominant again. The 2023 AL Cy Young Award winner threw 70 pitches over 4 1/3 innings against the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings, striking out 10 and walking none.

Cole has yet to pitch for the Yankees this season after being shut down during spring training due to right elbow inflammation. In his three rehab starts, he has recorded 19 strikeouts and zero walks in 12 1/3 innings.

Boone would only say "we'll see" when asked before the Yankees' game against the Boston Red Sox on Friday about when Cole would rejoin the big league club.

“You want to see him get to a threshold tonight, see how he’s carrying his stuff,” Boone said. “It’s going to be a different adrenaline level being there than when he first comes back with us. Making sure he gets through that, what’s tomorrow look like when he wakes up and gets moving. Those will be things we all talk through.”

Boone said he wants to speak with Cole and the team's medical staff to get an update on how Cole's arm is feeling.

Cole was happy with his progress and expects a decision to be made by Sunday about whether he'll require a fourth rehab start.

"I'm very much wanting to get back very soon," Cole said via Sal Maiorana of the Democrat and Chronicle. "What a fun club they are right now. So yeah, that's part of the reason why I'm just trying to make sure that I'm in a good spot to help them."