New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole to get MRI on right elbow

New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole walks to the field before a spring training baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays Friday, March 1, 2024, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole will have an MRI of his right elbow after experiencing issues in bouncing back following spring training starts.

The 2023 AL Cy Young Award winner has been durable in career, making at least 30 starts in each of the last six full regular seasons.

“He described it as his recovery, leading into his next start, has been more akin to what he feels in the season when he’s making 100 pitches,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Monday. “He usually doesn’t have the recovery issues he’s having. It’s been more of a challenge, more taxing. So we’re going to get an MRI to see what we’re dealing with here.”

The 33-year-old has been throwing fewer pitches in his spring training starts this year than other rotation members.

“I think there’s a level of discomfort, but I wouldn’t describe it as he’s in pain,” Boone said. “His stuff and his command has been really good in his outings. He’s just having a hard time recovering like he’s used to.’’

Cole is entering the fifth season of a $324 million, nine-year contract that pays $36 million annually. He has the right to opt out after the season and become a free agent, but if he opts out the Yankees can void the opt out by adding a guaranteed $36 million salary for 2029.

Yankees center fielder Aaron Judge is not expected to play again until Wednesday due to spring training fatigue.

“A little mid-spring kind of beat up just with all the work they do in the cage and backfield and stuff,” Boone said.

Judge has not taken on-field batting practice the last couple days and was replaced after three innings and two at-bats, in which he struck out both times, in Sunday’s game against Atlanta.

“We want to make sure especially with your veteran guys, they’re not overdoing at this time of year, but at the same time, obviously you’ve got to ramp them up," Boone said. “He actually does a really good job of governing and protecting himself.″

NOTES: RHP Luke Weaver was scratched from a scheduled start Tuesday with a stiff neck.