Caden Cole’s arrival on the final day of June supplied a grown-up dose of joy to his father who believes the Yankees can add a World Series trophy to the infant’s crib.
“We liked our chances in February not coming out of the gate 100 percent healthy so I have to say we really like our chances coming out of the gate 100 percent healthy,’’ Cole said Friday on a Zoom call ahead of the Yankees’ first full-squad workout at Yankee Stadium on Saturday. “There is only going to be one coronavirus World Series champion and I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to take that trophy home, especially when you are competing against your peers and there is only going to be one of them. We are excited and bullish and both Aarons [Judge and Hicks] looked great [Thursday] and we are chomping at the bit.’’
First, the Yankees and 29 other teams have to make it through spring training 2.0 without COVID-19 shutting the game down for a second time. Then there is a 60-game season to navigate with 10 teams reaching the postseason.
An optimist, Cole believes the protocols in place can keep baseball on the field.
“I think everybody is going to see how these first few weeks play out. So far the testing has been robust. I certainly have confidence in my teammates and the staff and Yankees to keep us safe. My gosh, we worked like five months on this protocol with a lot of outside counsel,’’ Cole said. “I have faith we can get through this and get through it safely.’’
While MLB hasn’t released the entire schedule the Yankees are slated to face the defending World Series champion Nationals in Washington on July 23, which will likely pit Cole against Max Scherzer.
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“[Brett] Gardner called it in a group text a few weeks ago,’’ Cole said of the stud right-handers facing each other. “I am excited to put the uniform on and get out there. I think it’s an enticing matchup, having pitched against them in the World Series last year and them being World Series champs. Hopefully, it draws some good attention and it is a good matchup. I am really excited for it. I think opening up in D.C. is perfect for the country.’’
One day after unleashing fastballs that almost touched 100 mph to Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks and Luke Voit, Cole said his body felt good and the workout provided a measuring stick as to quality of his work during the stoppage. Those workouts were with reliever Adam Ottavino and manager Aaron Boone standing in a batter’s box at Ottavino’s Connecticut home and later progressed to Yankee Stadium where the right-handers have been throwing mound sessions.
“In terms of where I am now it’s a great baseline. I threw three innings [Thursday] at roughly 40 to 45 pitches at normal velocity. Granted it’s a different environment facing your own hitters like it will be progressing through this shortened summer training,’’ Cole said. “Three innings with good velo and good load is a great place to start. I see no reason why we can’t get into the regular season with five innings under our belt and hopefully we can get more.’’
As for Amy and Gerrit’s first child, the extremely detailed father’s focus is not surprisingly razor sharp.
“He is a good mix of his dad and his mom. He is a little towhead, he is absolutely adorable. He has big blue eyes and gosh, I can’t stop staring at him,’’ said Cole, whose first name is the son’s middle name.