Hamstring has Cole unsure about next start

September 8th, 2021

NEW YORK -- As they fight to try to make it to the postseason, the Yankees don’t need any more injuries to their pitching staff, but it happened Tuesday night during their 5-1 loss to the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium.

Ace right-hander left the game in the top of the fourth inning with left hamstring tightness. It has not been determined if he will go on the injured list.

After the game, Cole had to pause a couple of times while talking to the media, obviously upset that the injury came at the wrong time. He is not sure if he will make his next scheduled start against the Mets on Sunday.

“I'm obviously disappointed about the outcome for today,” Cole said. “But I kind of want to reserve judgement until we see how this thing kind of reacts for the next 24 to 36 hours.

“I guess for my mentality, I just want to make sure I’m good if I’m good, or if I need a few extra days, I need a few extra days. … Unfortunately, I just had to pull the plug in Tuesday’s game.”

With the Yankees down, 2-1, to the Blue Jays, Reese McGuire hit a sacrifice fly to score Alejandro Kirk. After Kirk scored, Cole pointed toward the Yanks' dugout to signal something was wrong. Cole started feeling tightness in the hamstring during the last couple of pitches in the fourth.

Manager Aaron Boone and the training staff went to the mound, and after a brief discussion, Cole left the game and was replaced by right-hander Albert Abreu.

“I got through the finish and I maybe overextended the leg or I had a little bit of a cramp or just tightness in there," Cole said. "It was just in a spot where you continue to make pitches … you just keep pulling on it. It’s not really getting worse, but you are only one pitch away, I guess, from making it worse.”

Cole was having problems from the start, as he had a tough time throwing his breaking pitches for strikes. He found himself behind, 1-0, in the second inning on a solo home run by Kirk, who went deep again in the eighth. Cole then allowed the next two runs on sacrifice flies in the fourth.

The Yankees had another lackluster showing on offense against the Blue Jays. Main power hitters Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton went a combined 3-for-12 with one RBI.

“If I knew what was going on, I think we would have a better idea of how to address it and put a stop to it,” said outfielder Brett Gardner, who went 2-for-4. “Unfortunately, we haven’t played good baseball in the last week or so. … It’s been hard to get things going, not doing a good job of picking each other up, throwing at-bats away from time to time. We just need to be better.”

This time, they faced Blue Jays left-hander Steven Matz, who allowed one run in his six innings on the mound. That run was scored in the third inning when Andrew Velazquez came home on a single by Rizzo.

“I actually thought tonight, in comparison to yesterday, we put some good swings on balls,” Boone said. “I thought, for example, Judge had a few really good at-bats and nothing to show for it.

“… We had some guys that hit the ball OK today compared to yesterday. But the bottom line is, we have to be better. We have our guys now. If we are going to be the team we hope to be, our offense has to carry that freight for us. We gotta get it rolling.”

The Yankees (78-60) have lost four consecutive games and eight out of their last 10. They are still a half-game ahead of the Red Sox (79-62) for the first American League Wild Card spot, but the Blue Jays (75-62) are making a charge, now two games behind Boston and 2 1/2 behind New York.