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Gerrit Cole will go with rest and rehab rather than Tommy John surgery, reportedly facing 10-12 week timetable

Gerrit Cole will go with rest and rehab rather than Tommy John surgery, reportedly facing 10-12 week timetable

Did Gerrit Cole avoid surgery or delay it? (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Gerrit Cole and the New York Yankees appear to have avoided a worst-case scenario.

The Yankees' ace and reigning Cy Young winner will avoid Tommy John surgery and instead go with a rest and rehab routine for his throwing elbow after meeting with surgeon D. Neal ElAttrache on Thursday, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. Cole's timetable is reportedly hoped to be around 10-12 weeks.

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The decision affirms previous reporting around Cole's health, which indicated that he could miss one or two months. A 10-week timetable starting Thursday would mean a return around mid-May for Cole, who will begin the season on the injured list.

Worries around Cole's elbow grew steadily over the past few days, as the Yankees had him go through a series of medical consults. It's not hard to understand why the Yankees would be cautious with the right-hander, as there might not be a team in MLB that could less afford to lose its top starting pitcher for a significant amount of time.

With Cole out, the Yankees will enter 2024 with a rotation containing something along the lines of Nestor Cortes, Carlos Rodón, Marcus Stroman, Clarke Schmidt and Clayton Beeter. That's not exactly a group that screams AL East contender, despite the Yankees' upgrades elsewhere.

With a fully healthy Cole last year, the Yankees finished 82-80, 19 games behind the division champion Baltimore Orioles. The team could still theoretically sign a free-agent pitcher such as Blake Snell or Jordan Montgomery, but that would require a significant reversal of how the Yankees have approached those players this offseason.

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