A $324 million contract meant that expectations will weigh heavy on Gerrit Cole’s shoulders when he makes his MLB debut for the New York Yankees. At his MLB spring training debut, Gerrit Cole provided a shot with full adrenaline for Yankees fans at the George M. Steinbrenner Field this week. The Pittsburgh Pirates were the latest victims of Gerrit Cole’s supreme pitching abilities.
In his first inning of work as a Yankee:— New York Yankees (@Yankees) February 24, 2020
2 Strikeouts for Gerrit Cole. pic.twitter.com/V23amRytdG
Under the lights at George M. Steinbrenner Field, Gerrit Cole made his first Grapefruit League start for the Yankees. While MLB spring training is usually aimed at building arm strength for the pitchers and batters, Gerrit Cole was all business against the Pittsburgh Pirates. In the first inning of the 3-3 tie, Gerrit Cole threw 20 pitches, 12 of which were strikes. Three of the four batters he threw at opted to retire. An eventful MLB spring training debut in the Pirates vs Yankees game, for sure, but that wasn’t where Gerrit Cole’s debut ended.
During his 20 pitches, Gerrit Cole threw at a lightning speed of 98 mph not once, but twice against the Pirates. The $324 million man also hit 97 mph six times, according to the radar gun in the stadium. His express pitches led to two strikes, leaving Pirates batters in awe of the three-time All-Star.
The two strikes in the Pirates vs Yankees game will be just another feat in a series of firsts for Gerrit Cole in Yankees colours. Yankees manager Aaron Boone, however, expected Gerrit Cole to set the George M. Steinbrenner Field alight on his MLB spring training debut for the Yankees. “II was expecting it a little bit. In talking to him and he went the two-ups the last time, he went 40 pitches in his last (batting practice). We knew he was going to go an inning today and throttle back the pitches. We thought it would be a little crispier and it was.”