Yankees notes: Gerrit Cole may get on a mound next week, DJ LeMahieu suffers setback

NEW YORK — Gerrit Cole isn’t ready to throw off a mound just yet. However, the Yankees’ ace continues to move in the right direction.

Cole is now throwing from 120 feet after making 50 tosses on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. He said he isn’t sure when he will toe the slab for the first time since being sidelined with elbow inflammation in spring training, but Aaron Boone said the righty might get on a mound soon.

“I don’t necessarily think it means he’s getting on the mound immediately,” the manager said before the Yankees played the A’s on Tuesday. “It may be sometime next week. But I know, at least so far, the process and how he’s done and how it’s going is encouraging.”

Cole, who will take Wednesday off, added that he doesn’t know how many more catch sessions he needs to complete before throwing off a mound. He also wasn’t sure if he would travel for the Yankees’ upcoming trips to Milwaukee and Baltimore.

However, the reigning Cy Young winner said that he’s happy with his progress thus far. Cole’s elbow hasn’t been an issue since his throwing program began on April 8.

“It’s kind of a similar ramp-up to what an offseason would be like,” Cole said. “That’s kind of what we’re working off of. I’m just trying to nail it. Not go too fast, not go too slow, either.

“I’m out to 120, so it’s moving. It’s moving along.”

LeMahieu exits early

DJ LeMahieu, working his way back from a nondisplaced fracture in his right foot, began a rehab assignment at Double-A Somerset on Tuesday. It did not go as planned.

The third baseman ended up exiting the game after just one inning in the field and one plate appearance. LeMahieu was supposed to play three to five innings, but he felt soreness in his foot. He will return to New York on Wednesday, where he will be examined by a team physician.

Prior to the early departure, Boone said that the plan was for LeMahieu to play in four minor league games on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Boone said there was a “chance” LeMahieu would join the Yankees for their trip to Baltimore next week, but that’s now unlikely.

Rizzo says he’s fine

Anthony Rizzo took a .227 average and just one home run into Tuesday’s action. The typically slick fielder has also made a few mishaps in the field this season.

Because the first baseman played and scuffled through post-concussion symptoms last year, some have wondered if he is OK. Rizzo has also had recurring back issues in the past.

“Yeah,” Rizzo succinctly said Monday when asked if he’s healthy.

As for his struggles, Rizzo said, “It’s a grind. Take it one day at a time. I’m seeing the ball well. I just have to take better swings.”

Rizzo did exactly that on Tuesday, hitting a two-run homer in the first inning. Prior to that, Boone said the veteran could benefit from being a little more selective.

“He’s probably chasing results a little bit [and] aware that he hasn’t hit for a lot of power yet,” Boone said. “So maybe even by his standards, you start expanding a little bit more.”

The Vriel deal

Back on April 1, it was announced that Yankees pitching prospect Trystan Vrieling would make his affiliated pro debut at Double-A Somerset. The 2022 third-round pick spent his draft year at the Yankees’ complex in Tampa, and he missed the 2023 campaign with a stress fracture in his elbow.

Still, the Yankees felt the 23-year-old could handle Double-A.

“I think they feel good about a college kid with a pretty good pedigree who throws strikes,” Matt Blake told the Daily News when the decision was made. “They felt good about pushing him a little bit.”

Vrieling has responded well to the nudge, recording a 0.48 ERA, 18 strikeouts and six walks over three starts and 18 2/3 innings. The righty, ranked the Yankees’ 23rd-best prospect by, most recently held the Hartford Yard Goats hitless over 7 2/3 innings on April 19.

On Tuesday, Vrieling was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week.