Gerrit Cole brings the heat closer with Yankee's spring debut

<pre><pre>Gerrit Cole brings the heat closer with Yankee's spring debut

TAMPA – After using a slider and a curveball in his second live punch training session on Wednesday, Gerrit Cole is ready for his debut in the Monday night exhibition season against the pirates at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Cole would likely play an inning against the team that got him into the big leagues, and on March 26th in Baltimore would be on track to become the Yankees' opening pitcher. Since the Yankees had committed the 29-year-old right-hander to a $ 324 million nine-year contract, Cole was considered the opening starter the minute he signed.

Against Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres and Mike Tauchman in a two-inning exercise, Cole used his fastball and switch to go with the slider and the curveball, but the focus was on the fastball.

“It was a good mix. I was trying to push the Fastball percentage up 15-20 percent higher than normal. Try to sit at 65 to 75 percent fastballs, "said Cole." I'll probably pull the mix off for the next start, still putting all the pitches in, just try to push the fastball further before I do anything else mix at the same speed that we would mix during the regular season. "& # 39;

Cole tossed Kyle Higashioka, who caught Cole as a teenager on Scout teams in Southern California, and liked his 40-pitch excursion.

"I liked it. I've only been missing two or three times. My misses were fairly controlled for the fifth time off the hill, "said Cole." I thought I would command the zone on either side of the plate, hit lefties with fastball and fastballs with righties. With the fastball, hit the bottom a few times cut off the zone. "

Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks played with Cole and Higashioka on these scout teams. In Cole's short time with the Yankees, it is clear that he enjoys talking to other pitchers, no matter how old they are. Earlier this week he was engaged to Jordan Montgomery, Zack Britton and guest teacher Andy Pettitte for a long time in front of his locker.

Hicks was asked if Cole was like that as a teenager. After a moment of thought, Hicks simply said, "He threw hard."