Yankees' ace Gerrit Cole to undergo MRI on balky right elbow while Red Sox lose Giolito indefinitely

The pitching staffs of longtime rivals New York and Boston are hurting as the regular season approaches.

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole will have an MRI of his right elbow after experiencing issues recovering following spring training starts while Red Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito will have surgery on Tuesday and be out indefinitely.

Both Cole and Giolito have been durable in their careers.

Cole, the 2023 AL Cy Young Award winner, has made at least 30 starts in each of the last six full regular seasons. The 29-year-old Giolito, who agreed to a $38.5 million, two-year deal with the Red Sox during the offseason, has pitched at least 160 innings in five of the last six seasons.

The Yankees had been bringing the 33-year-old Cole along slowly this spring, having him throw fewer pitches during his outings than the rest of the rotation. Still, Cole reported feeling a higher level of fatigue than usual between starts.

“He described it as his recovery, leading into his next start, has been more akin to what he feels in the season when he’s making 100 pitches,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Monday. “He usually doesn’t have the recovery issues he’s having. It’s been more of a challenge, more taxing. So we’re going to get an MRI to see what we’re dealing with here.”

Cole is entering the fifth season of a $324 million, nine-year contract that pays $36 million annually. He has the right to opt out after the season and become a free agent, but if he opts out, the Yankees can lock him up by adding a guaranteed $36 million salary for 2029.

Giolito reported discomfort in his elbow after getting tagged during a spring training appearance on March 1. He traveled to Alabama last week to get a second opinion from Dr. Jeffrey R. Dugas before opting for surgery, the extent of which is still uncertain.

“Lucas is having surgery tomorrow. The extent of it, we don't know yet. We know it’s with the ligament,” manager Alex Cora said. "So we’ll know more tomorrow when they go in. The type of surgery, we don’t know yet.”


It will be Tyler Glasnow against Yu Darvish when the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres meet in the Seoul Series opener in South Korea later this month.

Glasnow, acquired by the Dodgers in the offseason and signed to a $136.5 million, five-year contract, will make the second opening day start of his career when the series begins on March 20. The 6-foot-8 right-hander went 10-7 with a 3.53 ERA last season while pitching for Tampa Bay.

Darvish will make the fourth opening day start of his career. The 37-year-old right-hander struggled at times last season, going 8-10 with a 4.56 ERA — the second highest ERA of his 11-year career — before being shut down in August due to concerns about his right elbow.

Heralded Dodgers rookie Yoshinobu Yamamoto will get his first major league start on March 21. Yamamoto, who signed a 12-year, $325-million deal with Los Angeles in December, went 70-29 with a 1.82 ERA in seven seasons with the Orix Buffaloes in his native Japan.

Joe Musgrove will get the nod for the Padres in the second game of the two-game series. Musgrove was 10-3 with a 3.05 ERA last season for the Padres before being lost for the season due to right shoulder inflammation.


The Atlanta Braves optioned top prospect AJ Smith-Shawver to Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday, moving closer to settling on their pitching staff for opening day.

The move slows — for now anyway — the 21-year-old's rapid rise through Atlanta's system. Smith-Shawver began last season at Class A Rome before finishing on the big league roster for the NL Division Series.

In three starts during the exhibition season, he showed glimpses of his massive potential, recording 11 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings. He also gave up 12 hits, seven earned runs and two homers. The decision leaves Bryce Elder and Reynaldo López as the top candidates for the final spot in Atlanta's starting rotation.


An unwanted year off doesn't seem to have slowed down New York Mets closer Edwin Díaz.

Díaz, who missed all of last season after tearing the patellar tendon in his right knee during the World Baseball Classic, struck out the side on Monday night against Miami.

The hard-throwing right-hander needed just 14 pitches to dispatch Jesús Sánchez, Avisaíl García and Jon Berti in the top of the fifth. Díaz hit 98 mph on the radar gun and seven of his strikes were swung on and missed.

“It was crazy because I felt the people screaming and everything,” Díaz said. “I was just trying to control my emotions at that moment. ... Even if it's a spring training game, I treat this game like (the) regular season.”


New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Judge is not expected to play again until Wednesday due to spring training fatigue.

Judge has not taken on-field batting practice the last couple days and was replaced after three innings and two at-bats, in which he struck out both times, in Sunday’s game against Atlanta.


Associated Press writer Mark Didtler in Tampa contributed to this report.


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