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Gerrit Cole begins spring training pumping high-90s heat

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It was just one inning, but newly-signed Yankees starter Gerrit Cole made his Yankees debut last night. And he looked pretty good doing it.

Cole struck out two and walked one over a hitless inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates, pumping gas like it was the middle of the season. His first pitch to Adam Frazier was a 97 mph fastball. He got Frazier to pop out, struck out Bryan Reynolds, walked Cole Tucker, but then struck out Josh Bell to end his evening. In all threw 20 pitches, 12 of which were strikes, reached 98 mph twice and hit 97 mph six times.

The only less-than-great thing from his outing — and this is only less-than-great if you’re a certain sort of Yankees fan or reporter — is that Cole made a comment about how he’d like to get to a point where he and catcher Gary Sánchez “can read each other’s minds.” It was obviously just a comment a new player makes when working with a new catcher for the first time in spring training, but I saw some people on social media interpreting that as some sort of negative. As if Cole and Sánchez had communication issues. Which is weird given that Cole also said he worked well with Sánchez, but given how weirdly obsessive certain people in New York get about Sánchez’s defensive shortcomings, it’s likely something that someone will try to turn into a narrative at some point. From everything I saw things seemed fine.

For non-obsessives, Cole’s first appearance in pinstripes — well, at least pinstriped pants — was good to see.

Braves ace Mike Soroka out for year with torn Achilles

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Atlanta Braves ace Mike Soroka is out for the season after tearing his right Achilles tendon Monday night against the New York Mets.

Soroka was hurt in the third inning after delivering a pitch to J.D. Davis, who grounded the ball toward first baseman Freddie Freeman.

Soroka broke toward first to cover the bag, only to go down on his first step off the mound. The right-hander knew right away it was a devastating injury, one that ensures he won’t be back on the mound until 2021.

“It’s a freak thing that happened,” manager Brian Snitker said, delivering the grim news after the Braves lost 7-2 to the Mets. “I’m sorry it did.”

Soroka yelled in obvious pain and tried to walk gingerly for a couple of steps before dropping to his knees. He couldn’t put any weight on the leg as he was helped toward the clubhouse with the assistance of Snitker and a trainer.

It was a major blow to the two-time defending NL East champion Braves, who had won five straight despite struggling to put together an effective rotation.

“Somebody else is going to get an opportunity,” Snitker said. “Things like that happen. These guys will regroup. Somebody is going to get an opportunity to do something really good. Our young guys are going to continue to get better. We’re going to be fine.”

Soroka, who turns 23 on Tuesday, made his first opening day start last month after going 13-4 with a dazzling 2.68 ERA in 2019 to finish second in NL Rookie of the Year balloting and sixth for the Cy Young Award.

Soroka was making his third start of the season. He came in having allowed just two earned runs over 11 1/3 innings but struggled against the Mets, giving up three hits and four walks. He was charged with four earned runs in 2 1/3 innings, the second-shortest outing of his career.

Unfortunately for Soroka, he won’t get a chance to make up for it this season.