Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees can breathe a sigh of relief about pitching staff ace and reigning AL Cy Young winner Gerrit Cole.

The New York Post reports that after several consultations and an MRI, Cole’s ulnar collateral ligament is intact and he will not need Tommy John surgery. He will instead opt for a month or two of “rest and other conservative treatments.”

However, there is still enough concern over Cole’s UCL that he will fly to Los Angeles to meet renowned surgeon Dr. Neil ElAttrache. We can probably now pencil in Carlos Rodon and his renewed velocity for Opening Day in Houston on March 29.

On one hand, it’s frustrating that the Yankees will be without Gerrit Cole until at least May or June, perhaps later. A big talking point this spring has been New York’s thin pitching depth outside the rotation while former Yankee Jordan Montgomery and NL Cy Young winner Blake Snell remain unsigned.

Except we need to face the amazingly inconvenient truth that Cole is a future Hall of Famer. He posted a 5.2 WAR last year and is the unquestioned leader of the Yankees’ pitching staff. Any injury he reports should be taken seriously, especially if it’s in his pitching elbow. Better to identify the problem early than go the quick route and risk something worse.

We should also note that despite this being an elbow injury, Cole’s velocity never dropped to the point of concern. He was still ramping up for the season and having issues recovering between starts. Fans will recall Nestor Cortes’ struggles last season for the same reason, but with shoulder fatigue.

The Yankees aren’t tipping their hand, so we’ll have to wait and see the next steps on Gerrit Cole. Let’s hope his recovery is quick, short, and successful.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.