New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole made his spring training debut on Monday. How did he perform the first time with his new team?
After an offseason of anticipation, the New York Yankees trotted out their prized acquisition Monday night. Right-hander Gerrit Cole threw his first pitches in a Yankees uniform at George M. Steinbrenner Field during his spring training debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
After signing a record-breaking deal this offseason, Cole began his spring training with one inning of work. The 29-year-old gave the Yankees a taste of what they paid for. In his only inning of work, Cole walked one and struck out two batters. He faced four batters and ended his outing with a swinging strikeout against Josh Bell.
There is a long way to go for Cole this spring before he’s ready for the season. But taking it one outing at a time is the mentality he’s bringing to mound each time he toes the rubber.
“I’m trying to throw strikes, trying to get the work done, trying to get familiar with players,” Cole said after his debut. “I was talking with the guys on a couple of comebackers, trying to go over who’s covering. I’m just trying to keep communicating with Gary so we can hopefully read each other’s minds at some point.”
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— New York Yankees (@Yankees) February 25, 2020
The game ended in a 3-3 tie because there are no extra innings in spring training. None of that matters though. Cole touched 98 MPH in his first outing—something that is going to take a little getting used to with the new ace. Even his new battery mate in Gary Sánchez saw how unique Cole is.
“One thing I can pinpoint is the level of intensity that he brings, going back to his bullpens,” said Sánchez. “Even tonight, he was hitting 97, 98. That level of being focused and intensity and attacking, going right after guys — it’s very unique.”
The Yankees have World Series aspirations in 2020. Those hopes are led by Cole, who enters his first of a nine-year deal. Even with some injuries in the starting rotation, Cole is bringing enough optimism for the upcoming season.
In addition, left-hander Jordan Montgomery had a strong outing. He followed Cole’s debut by tossing 2.0 innings pitched. He struck out three batters while allowing one walk.
Cole will make his next outing Saturday against the Detroit Tigers at George M. Steinbrenner Field. The expectation is another one-inning outing before he ramps up the workload in the coming weeks.