Yankees' Gerrit Cole to face live hitters Tuesday for first time since landing on IL

Yankees manager Aaron Boone confirmed to reporters that ace Gerrit Cole will face live hitters for the first time on Tuesday, another big step for Cole as he recovers from nerve inflammation in his elbow.

Cole threw his fifth bullpen session on Saturday, throwing 40 pitches while doing two "ups," meaning he took a break in the middle to simulate the rest he would get between innings in a typical outing.

Boone said that Cole came back on Sunday feeling "good," and while he didn't provide any additional details as to how many batters Cole will face on Tuesday, he acknowledged that it's a big step in the 2023 AL Cy Young winner's recovery.

"Yeah, it’s important. Bouncing back from a two-up bullpen with some guys standing in on him, and I know [he was] feeling good yesterday coming in," Boone said. "We just want to continue to progress and continue to stack good days, and that’s another step along the way of getting out there on the bump and facing hitters. I’m sure there’s an added little adrenaline that goes with that. All important steps on his return."

Cole was originally targeting June 1 as a possible return date, but it now seems like his return will likely come either at the end of June or in July.