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Yankees' Gerrit Cole to Start vs. Angels: 'I Threw a No-Hitter in the Bullpen'

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVAugust 15, 2021

AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole is scheduled to return to action Monday against the Los Angeles Angels.

According to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch, Cole will start Monday's contest, which is a makeup game at Yankee Stadium after a previously scheduled game between the Yanks and Angels was rained out in July.

Cole, who has not made a start since July 29, was placed on the COVID-19 list along with fellow starter Jordan Montgomery.

Per Hoch, Cole is feeling good ahead of his return to the mound, as the four-time All-Star joked: "I threw a no-hitter in the bullpen. I'm ready to go."

Prior to landing on the COVID-19 IL, Cole was unquestionably the Yankees' go-to pitcher this season. In 21 starts, Cole has posted a 10-6 record with a 3.11 ERA and American League-best 0.99 WHIP.

Cole also leads the AL with 176 strikeouts in 130.1 innings after finishing with the most K's in the majors in 2019 with 326 when he was a member of the Houston Astros.

With starters Corey Kluber, Domingo German and Luis Severino already on the IL when Cole and Montgomery joined them, Yankees manager Aaron Boone has leaned heavily on his bullpen over the past couple of weeks.

That has seemingly taken a toll on New York's relievers, as the Yanks have blown ninth-inning leads in each of their past two games against the Chicago White Sox, although they did manage to win in extra innings Saturday.

Cole's return will be a welcome sight for Boone, as the 30-year-old righty averages over six innings per start this season.

The Yankees are also set to get Montgomery back in the fold this week, as Hoch reported that the big lefty will likely start one half of the doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday.

Despite having to get by with a makeshift starting rotation in recent weeks, the Yankees are firmly in the playoff race.

Entering play Sunday, the Yanks are 6.5 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the AL East lead, but they trail the Red Sox by only 2.5 games for the second wild-card spot.

New York has already strengthened its lineup with the trade-deadline additions of Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo, but the return of Cole may be the biggest key to the Bronx Bombers securing a postseason berth.

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