Gerrit Cole to Avoid Tommy John Surgery, Expects to Pitch in 2024

After meeting with Dr. Neal ElAttrache, Gerrit Cole has been cleared of needing surgery on his elbow and could be back in 10-12 weeks.

Tampa, Fla.: New York Yankees' starting pitcher Gerrit Cole throwing in the bullpen with pitching coach Matt Blake watching during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida, on March 15, 2022. (Photo by J. Conrad Williams Jr./Newsday RM via Getty Images)

UPDATE: 3/14, 10:30 p.m.

New York Yankees fans everywhere can breath a collective sigh of relief. After meeting with Dr. Neal ElAttrache in California, Gerrit Cole will not need Tommy John Surgery. Dr. ElAttrache agreed with team doctors that there was no tear in Cole’s UCL according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post.

As of right now, the plan for Cole is to rest and rehab, as well some “conservative, non-surgical treatments”. The initial timeline for his absence is that he will miss 10 to 12 weeks according to Bob Nightengale, which means we could see him return at some point before the All-Star break.

If there are no further setbacks for Cole, the Yankees can still expect to have their ace for a large portion of the 2024 season.

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Original story: While the New York Yankees are not out of the woods, the early reports on Gerrit Cole‘s elbow injury are at least a positive development.

According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, Cole is expected to miss at least one-to-two months with his injury, but early images have shown that his ulnar collateral ligament is in tact without a tear. With that said, Cole is still heading to Los Angeles to visit renowned sports surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache for another opinion.

The hope at this point is that Cole can rest his arm for some time, get on a rehab program and find his way back on the mound without needing surgery. The earliest possible timetable for his return would be sometime in May, if not June.

Still, ElAttrache asking for more tests to be done is cause for continued concern, as the best course of action could still eventually be deemed to require surgery.

Without Cole, the Yankees are asking a lot out of newly-signed starter Marcus Stroman and last year’s big signing Carlos Rodon to fill the void atop their rotation.

If they don’t make an acquisition, the Yankees Opening Day rotation could be Stroman, Rodon, Nestor Cortes, Clarke Schmidt and Clayton Beeter, which leaves a lot to be desired. Having dealt Michael King, Johny Brito and Randy Vasquez in their trade for Juan Soto, the Yankees starting pitching depth is rather thin.

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There has been some speculation that they could enter the fray to make a trade for White Sox ace Dylan Cease, and of course there has been the never-ending speculation about signing either Blake Snell or Jordan Montgomery.

With all of that said, Andy Martino of SNY has reported that Cole’s injury “has not inspired the Yankees to change their stance on signing Blake Snell. A trade for Chicago White Sox ace Dylan Cease is also unlikely”

Whatever the Yankees decide to do here with their rotation is going to be fascinating, as they enter a season where they are in desperate need to win now with Juan Soto only under contract for the 2024 campaign. Losing Gerrit Cole for even a few months is a devastating blow, but the news could have been worse, if he was already ruled out for the rest of the year.

For now, the Yankees must hold their breath until surgery has been completely ruled out on Cole, while exploring the market to try to add some depth back into their rotation.