How New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole fared in his 2024 debut

NEW YORK – Stepping into a Yankees’ season full of promise, ace Gerrit Cole was greeted with customary cheers Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.

And he exited to a standing ovation after facing one Baltimore Orioles batter in the fifth.

Cedric Mullins’ first-pitch leadoff single ended Cole’s night after four innings and 62 pitches, with the score tied 1-1.

From there Ron Marinaccio gave up a two-run homer to Ramon Urias, adding an earned run to Cole’s total.

In all, Cole yielded two runs on three hits with one walk and five strikeouts – all of them coming within the last eight batters he faced.

After a lengthy rehab from right elbow nerve irritation, which rocked Yankees Universe in spring training, Cole was making his 2024 debut against the team closest in the standings to the AL East-leading Yankees.

The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner had thrown 70 pitches in his third and final minor league rehab start, last Friday, and it was uncertain how many pitches he’d be permitted to throw Wednesday.

“We’ll build him conservatively here, to get him built up and … see where we’re at and what makes the most sense,’’ Yankees manager Aaron Boone said before the game.

Gerrit Cole made his 2024 debut on Wednesday night.
Gerrit Cole made his 2024 debut on Wednesday night.

According to MLB Statcast, Cole’s fastball topped out at 97.5 mph. The percentage breakdown of his pitches: 45% four-seam fastballs, 21% cutters, 18% curveballs, 8% changeups, 8% sliders.

In the third inning, Cole faced four batters and struck out the side - ending with Adley Rutschman looking at a 3-2 curveball and Ryan Mountcastle swinging over a 2-2 slider.

Cole had a seven-pitch second inning, ending with a sharp play by Anthony Volpe on Urias' one-hop smash with a tough backhander and quick throw to first.

In the first inning, leadoff man Gunnar Henderson reached on an unusual double - a 109.1-mph one-hop bullet that glanced off second baseman Gleyber Torres' glove and into right field.

Three batters later, Ryan O'Hearn drove an 0-2 slider for a ground-rule RBI double to left.

Cole's next start could be Tuesday at Citi Field against the Mets on one extra day of rest, due to Monday's team off date.

Giancarlo Stanton's three-run homer in the seventh and RBI single in the ninth helped the Yankees force extras after falling in a 5-1 deficit, but the Orioles prevailed 7-6 in 10.

This article originally appeared on Gerrit Cole season debut: How Yankees ace did vs Orioles