New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole will face hitters Tuesday

New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole will take another step in his recovery from nerve inflammation in his elbow on Tuesday when he faces hitters for the first time since landing on the injured list in late March.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone, who confirmed the news to reporters on Monday, said Cole was feeling good on Sunday after throwing 40 pitches in his fifth bullpen session on Saturday.

"Yeah, it's important," Boone said. "Bouncing back from a two-up bullpen with some guys standing in on him, and I know (he was) feeling good (Sunday) coming in.

"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, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, has been one of the majors' most durable pitchers, making at least 30 starts in every season since 2017 except for the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign.

Cole, 33, is coming off a season in which he went 15-4 while leading the AL in ERA (2.63) and innings pitched (209). He struck out 222 and walked 48.

The six-time All-Star is entering his fifth season with New York after previously pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates (2013-17) and the Houston Astros (2018-19).

In 300 career major league starts, Cole has a 145-75 record with a 3.17 ERA, 2,152 strikeouts and 471 walks in 1,859 innings.