The Yankees have reinstated Gerrit Cole from the injured list, per a club announcement. Right-hander Brooks Kriske, who’d been up as a replacement player, was returned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in a corresponding move.
Meanwhile, the Yankees transferred outfielder Clint Frazier from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day injured list. That opens up a 40-man spot for Cole, who’d temporarily been removed while on the Covid list, but the Yankees also indicated that Frazier’s rehab stint in Triple-A has been halted. No further word has been provided on his status at this time. Frazier has already been out since July 1; the move to the 60-day IL means he can’t return until the end of August.
Cole tested positive for Covid-19 back on Aug. 2 and wound up missing two weeks of action. He’ll jump back into the mix at a time when the Yankees have won 12 of 16 games since the July 30 trade deadline to pull within five and a half games of the American League East lead and just two and a half games of the second American League Wild Card spot.
Cole, who signed the largest contract of any pitcher in MLB history two offseasons ago, has pitched to a 3.11 ERA with a 34.4 percent strikeout rate and 5.5 percent walk rate in 130 1/3 frames thus far for the Yankees in 2021. He was one of the focal points of Major League Baseball’s crackdown on the usage of foreign substances by pitchers. He’s had his share of slips along the way since the league implemented foreign-substance checks for pitchers, but Cole has also looked like every bit the ace that signed that record contract at times since the new enforcement of the policy; he punched out 12 hitters in a shutout of the Astros on July 10 and followed with 11 strikeouts in six innings of one-run ball against the Red Sox his next time out.
As for Frazier, it’s a concerning development in the outfielder’s health outlook. He was placed originally placed on the injured list with dizziness, vision problems and other symptoms perhaps consistent with vertigo. That was said to have been ruled out early in the process, however, and there’s been no firm indication as to what is at the root of the issue. He’d recently returned the field and gone 4-for-10 with a double in three games, but it now seems he’ll step back from playing in games as the team further evaluates his status.
Frazier, 26, had a big showing in 2020, hitting .267/.394/.511 with eight homers, six doubles and a triple through 39 games and 160 plate appearances. He looked poised to step up as an everyday option in left field for the Yanks, but in 218 plate appearances this year he’s batted just .186/.317/.317.