TAMPA — Gerrit Cole is “not discouraged or concerned at all,” he said.
He has accomplished what he intended to accomplish through four spring starts.
The Yankees ace feels fine, is built up to 81 pitches and should be ready to throw 100 pitches when Opening Day arrives.
But Cole was not thrilled with Sunday’s 5-3 loss to the Orioles at Steinbrenner Field, in which a solid four innings gave way to a troubling fifth.
“That was the worst inning of the spring,” Cole said after a four-run, 29-pitch final frame. “Not a great taste in my mouth.”
Cole blamed himself for beginning the inning by hitting Jordan Westburg and walking Colton Cowser.
Two batters later, Anthony Bemboom smacked a three-run home run to right field.
Cole allowed two more hits and one more run in the frame — though a better route by left fielder Oswaldo Cabrera might have bailed him out on what became a Kyle Stowers double — and he found the bright side to a bad inning: Better to prepare his body for the bad times now.
“Got through five [innings], got stressed, which is good,” said Cole, who will have one more Grapefruit League start before the regular season opens. “There’s going to be a time where I throw 30-some-odd pitches in an inning with the clock, so it was good to get through that.”
On a brisk afternoon, Cole’s velocity was a tick down.
A four-seam fastball that last year averaged 97.8 mph came through at 96.5 mph Sunday.
His fastball “just wasn’t quite the same as last week,” Cole said.
“I thought he spun some balls all right,” manager Aaron Boone said of Cole, who has allowed seven runs in 16 spring innings (3.94 ERA). “He’s been so sharp and sorta dominant that anytime he gives something up [it’s a surprise]. … But I don’t come out of this not feeling like he’s anywhere but on the right track.”
The Yankees are awaiting the next step for Tommy Kahnle, who said Sunday he is “pretty sick of rehabbing.”
The righty reliever, who is recovering from biceps tendinitis, threw Thursday and Friday and hasn’t “felt that good,” he said.
The Yankees and Kahnle were set to confer with doctors and discuss whether he might need an injection or whether to give Kahnle a few more days of rest.
Boone said the Yankees had not sent Kahnle for additional testing.
Kahnle, who dealt with biceps tendinitis in 2014 and ’18, too, already had been ruled out for Opening Day.
He said the biceps has improved since he originally felt the soreness, but he did not feel great.
Kahnle threw a single inning in 2020 before requiring Tommy John surgery that knocked him out until midseason 2022.
He returned, pitching with the Dodgers, only to suffer right forearm inflammation that limited him to 13 regular-season games.
He hit free agency and signed a two-year, $11.5 million contract with the Yankees.
Jose Trevino took batting practice for the first time since spraining his wrist March 9.
Boone did not have the latest report on Trevino, who is expected to return to Grapefruit League play Tuesday, but said he thinks “we’re good to go.”
The Yankees reassigned INF/OF Jake Bauers and OF Billy McKinney to minor league camp.
The Yankees announced outfielder Jasson Domínguez and right-handed pitcher Will Warren were winners of the 2022 Kevin Lawn Awards as the organization’s minor league “Position Player of the Year” and “Pitcher of the Year,” respectively.
They were presented with awards before the game.
Dominguez shot up from Class-A Tampa and finished last season at Double-A Somerset, finishing with an .837 OPS in 120 minor league games.
Warren, an eighth-round pick in 2021, reached Double-A in his first minor league season and posted a 3.91 ERA in 26 starts.