Yankees faithful travel to hop aboard Cole Train at Triple-A

Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner racks up 10 strikeouts in latest rehab start

June 15th, 2024

All aboard. The Cole Train is chugging its way back toward the Majors.

fanned 10 batters across 4 1/3 frames in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s 2-1 loss against the Rochester Red Wings on Friday night during his third rehab start.

The start comes on the heels of his two previous rehab outings with Double-A Somerset, where he allowed one run over eight combined innings and struck out nine batters.

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The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner took the mound at Innovative Field in Rochester, about five and a half hours away from Yankee Stadium. As Cole stepped out onto the rubber, Yankees fans greeted him with a standing ovation.

"I pitched here once before, so I was excited to come back,” Cole told local media after the game. “It's a special feeling, when you go somewhere and your fans come out and support you. We don't often come around these parts. ... So it's nice to see those people, and it feels really special that they came out and supported me."

Cole fired through the first three innings, including striking out the side in the third frame. The only run he allowed was unearned after Jack Dunn (Nationals) reached first on a missed catch and Riley Adams drove a single in the fourth inning. He left the game in the fifth after reaching 70 pitches, 22 of which Rochester batters swung and missed at.

Regardless of the run allowed, Cole felt that he had a strong performance by the end of his outing.

“There was really good work today,” said Cole. “I used all the pitches well, got to pretty much every location. So it's a really good step in the right direction."

Questions on when the All-Star pitcher could return to the Majors are starting to loom. Yankees manager Aaron Boone awaited the results of Friday’s outing and looked to speak with Cole about what his next steps could be.

“You want to see him get to a threshold tonight, see how he’s carrying his stuff,” Boone said before the Yankees' 8-1 victory at Fenway Park. “It’s going to be a different adrenaline level being there than when he first comes back with us. Making sure he gets through that -- what does tomorrow look like when he wakes up and gets moving? Those will be things we all talk through.”

The Yankees currently hold the best record in the Majors with a 50-22 mark. Cole has seen the success the club has had throughout the year and is eager to return and do his part.

"I'm very much wanting to get back very soon,” said Cole. “What a fun club they are right now. That's part of the reason why I'm trying to make sure I'm in a good spot to help them."