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Yankees Notebook: Orioles get to Gerrit Cole in penultimate spring start

TAMPA — The Orioles roughed up Gerrit Cole before he could exit his second-to-last start of the spring, tagging the Yankees righty for four earned runs in his fifth and final frame in Sunday’s game, a 5-3 win for Baltimore at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

That inning included a hit by pitch, a walk, a three-run homer from Orioles catcher Anthony Bemboom, and an RBI double from outfielder Kyle Stowers. All in all, Cole threw 29 pitches and ended the day with a 3.94 ERA for the spring.

“That was the worst inning of the spring, so it’s not a great taste in my mouth,” Cole said afterward, though he took a few positives out of the performance. Namely, he made it through five and experienced a stressful inning while up against the pitch clock. “There’s gonna be a time when I’m gonna throw 30 or somewhat pitches in an inning on the clock, so it was good to get through that,” Cole continued.

Cole also allowed six hits and eight hard hit balls while striking out seven over 81 pitches. He added that he was not discouraged after the outing. Nor was his manager.

“I don’t come out of this feeling like he’s anywhere but on the right tracks,” Boone said of his Opening Day starter.

Cole will look to increase his pitch count to 90 when he makes his last start of the spring on Friday at George M. Steinbrenner Field against the Twins.

“He avoided the grey pants all spring,” Boone said of Cole, who’s only pitched in Tampa this exhibition season.

Before that happens, Luis Severino will start Tuesday’s home game against the Tigers. Clarke Schmidt will pitch Wednesday’s road game against the Nationals. Nestor Cortes will take on the Cardinals on Thursday in Jupiter, and Domingo German will stay behind that day for a live session.

Cole has kept a close eye on the prospects fighting for the Yankees’ starting shortstop gig. And while the pitcher is not picking favorites, he said that Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza — who made a couple of sharp defensive plays Sunday — have brought positive vibes to camp.

“Everybody relates to young players coming up for the first time because they remember experiencing those emotions as well,” Cole said. “To see a really good battle with two really good players… there’s no bad choice, but it’s just kind of inspiring. It’s a good battle, and it’s fun to watch. Everybody kind of feeds off that energy.”

As the Yankees weigh their bullpen options, Boone said that whether or not a pitcher is already on the 40-man roster will play a factor.

“It always plays into it a little bit, especially if you’re talking about something that’s a close call,” he said.

In recent days, Boone has indicated that left-hander Matt Krook and right-hander Jimmy Cordero are among the 40-man roster competitors who are in the mix, though they’re not the only options. Cordero struck out two over a scoreless frame Sunday.

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The Yankees announced that OF Jasson Dominguez and RHP Will Warren are the 2022 Kevin Lawn Award winners, a.k.a. the organization’s minor league Position Player and Pitcher of the Year.

Dominguez slashed .273/.376/.461 with seven triples, 16 homers, 59 RBI and 37 stolen bases over 120 games at Single-A, High-A and Double-A last year. While he struggled over a five-game regular-season stint at Double-A (.105/.227/.368 with one HR), he shined in just as many playoff games, hitting .450 with three homers and 10 RBI. This spring, he hit .455 with a 1.565 OPS, four home runs, nine RBI and a stolen base during his first big league camp.

“He’s probably a lot closer now and certainly on our radar with how the last 12 months have gone,” Boone said after recently reassigning “The Martian.”

Warren, meanwhile, turned heads while pitching for High-A Hudson Valley and Double-A Somerset last season, recording a 3.91 ERA over 26 starts and 129 innings. He appeared in one game earlier this spring and impressed Boone with two blank innings.

“I loved what I saw,” Boone said.

The Yankees reassigned 1B/OF Jake Bauers and OF Billy McKinney to minor league camp following Sunday’s game. Bauers is hitting .391 since the spring began, while McKinney is hitting .179.

Any Yankees fans still hoping for a Jurickson Profar signing can let go of that dream. The former Padre is staying in the National League West. On Sunday, Profar agreed to one-year deal with the Rockies that guarantees him $7.75 million, per the New York Post’s Jon Heyman.

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