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Yankees ace Gerrit Cole expected to miss at least 1-2 months: reports

Cole Burston/Getty Images North America/TNS

TAMPA, Fla. — After days of uncertainty, Yankees ace Gerrit Cole is expected to miss at least one to two months, according to multiple reports.

The New York Post’s Jon Heyman and Mark W. Sanchez were the first to report that, along with the news that Cole is heading to Los Angeles to meet with Dr. Neal ElAttrache. While initial tests have yet to find a tear in the pitcher’s ulnar collateral ligament, there’s still enough worry to warrant a visit to the renowned sports surgeon.

One source close to Cole told the New York Daily News that no timelines had been determined by doctors at the time of publication.

On Monday, the Yankees made it known that Cole’s elbow needed an MRI, and he was expected to get additional tests and opinions. While Cole’s velocity has not been an issue this spring, he’s had trouble recovering between outings.

On Tuesday, Yankees manager Aaron Boone essentially ruled out the possibility of Cole starting on opening day. Even if tests keep coming back clean, he’s still behind in his build-up schedule.

It turns out that Cole will miss more than just that first start on March 28. However, the Yankees are still hoping to avoid surgery and get Cole back in May or June. The situation should become clearer after Cole meets with ElAttrache.

Cole, the reigning American League Cy Young winner, has been rather durable throughout his career. He’s made at least 30 starts in seven of his 11 MLB seasons and made a full 12 starts during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He’s totaled 591 innings in the three campaigns since then, including 209 frames last season.

With Cole sidelined, the Yankees’ projected rotation includes Carlos Rodón, Marcus Stroman, Nestor Cortes and Clarke Schmidt. The first three battled their own injuries and inconsistencies last year, while Schmidt soared past his career high with 159 innings pitched.

Several depth starters could fill the fifth spot in Cole’s place, including Luke Weaver, Will Warren, Clayton Beeter, Cody Poteet and Luis Gil.

The Yankees could also turn to outside help, as Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery and Dylan Cease are options in free agency and on the trade block. However, various factors have kept the Yankees from acquiring those frontline starters, including the cost of such deals and the team’s luxury tax situation.

Snell and Montgomery, free agents, presumably wouldn’t be ready to start the regular season on time, as they need to build up.

Stroman, Rodón and Cortes are options to start the Yankees’ opener in Houston, though Boone told the YES Network that Rodón will likely start the second game of the season.