There’s no better place for a family reunion than Yankee Stadium, which will host a kid-filled party on Thursday.
Gerrit Cole’s oldest son, Caden, will be surrounded by cousins. Cole’s brother-in-law is Brandon Crawford, who will be the Giants’ Opening Day shortstop and is a father of four.
“I think they’ll probably have a room where they can go crazy and play their baseball games in the suite,” Cole said before his Game 1 start on Tuesday.
Cole will have to wait until the game is over to join the party.
The Yankees need the righty now and have rarely needed it more.
About to enter the fourth season of his nine-year contract, Cole will start Opening Day for the Yankees and relieve Clarke Schmidt, who will be handed over to Jhony Brito.
Such is the state of the Yankees rotation, which has lost three starters before April arrives.
Gerrit ColeGetty Images
Frankie Montas went down first, having shoulder surgery in February that will keep him sidelined until at least August.
Carlos Rodon went down next, suffering a mild forearm strain that will force him to enter the injured list at the start of the season.
Luis Severino will also open in the IL with a strain on his right side, which will likely prevent him from making three or four starts.
So behind Cole will be a pair of unproven pieces in Nestor Cortes and Domingo German — a surefire rotation gig who didn’t even make it into camp — expected to pitch in Games 4 and 5, respectively.
Cole said the thin rotation doesn’t add to his burden, which is as big as the Yankees’ ace.
“We’re fortunate to have depth, and we’re fortunate to have guys that are going to put us in a position to win some games,” Cole said before Washington’s day off Wednesday. “Is it what we penciled in before the season? no But are the boys ready to step up? yes … At any point in the season, situations like this arise and you need everyone on your 40-man roster to contribute. This is our first chance to experience it.”
This will be Cole’s fourth Opening Day start with the Yankees, who have won two of the first three.
Cole may not have reached the heights he touched with Houston, but he has been the workhorse the Yankees envisioned since signing his $324 million deal.
Since 2020, he’s only needed one trip to the injured list — a brief stint with COVID-19 in 2021 — and has a 3.28 ERA in 75 regular-season starts.
The 32-year-old had a strong spring, going 5 ²/₃ innings and 84 pitches in his last start.
“I thought it was quality execution overall,” said Cole, who will be opposite fellow Giants player Logan Webb. “Compared to other springs, with other progressions, especially every time we got the ball, we hit our goals.”
With the rotation revolving around him, Cole will be where he’s always been with the Yankees: on the mound.
His family, including his nieces and nephews, will be seen together. His brother-in-law will be in the batting box.
Crawford is 6-for-20 (.300) against Cole in his career, having not faced off since 2018.
“We’ve had a few meetings over the years and they’ve been fun. He’s obviously a world-class competitor and the best Giants shortstop of all time,” said Cole. “This is a special moment for our family and one we will remember for a long time.”