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Gerrit Cole doesn't believe he's tipping pitches

Gerrit Cole of the Yankees reacts on the

Gerrit Cole of the Yankees reacts on the mound during the first inning against the Rays at Yankee Stadium on Monday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

BALTIMORE — After a third straight disappointing outing last Monday,  Yankees ace Gerrit Cole theorized that his ballooning home runs allowed total might be a result of pitch-tipping.

On the eve of Saturday’s start against the Orioles, he said he doesn’t believe that to be the case.

“I didn’t find anything substantial there,” said Cole, who is 4-2 with a 3.91 ERA. “I just felt there was probably a lot of different factors that have contributed to it. But not one main thing.”

In his most recent start, Cole allowed two home runs by the Rays, lifting his total to 12 in 46 innings (he allowed 29 in 212 1/3 innings while going 20-5 in 2019). Of the 20 runs scored off Cole this season, 16 have come via the long ball.

After going 20-0 in a span of 28 games, Cole is 0-2 with a 5.94 ERA in his last three starts, allowing seven home runs in 16 2/3 innings. Perhaps the most jarring element of watching him give up some monstrous blasts — few have been wall-scrapers — is the lack of dominance he’s shown with his four-seam fastball. When Cole is at his best, It’s a pitch that is virtually unhittable.

“Part of that is a product of guys being ready for the pitch, [part of it] is missing in a bad spot and maybe not catching a break a couple of times," Cole said. "There’s room for improvement there, but certainly it’s not very far off. Fine-tuning would be how I would describe trying to get it better.”

Two more to the IL

The Yankees' still-crowded injured list received two more members Friday. Gio Urshela was put on the IL with a right elbow bone spur, a previous ailment that the third baseman aggravated when he dived for a ball midway through Thursday’s loss to the Mets, Aaron Boone said. Righty Jonathan Loaisiga landed on the IL with what the Yankees called “a medical condition that prevents him from playing and necessitates placement on the injured list.” Boone did say Loaisiga’s issue is “not COVID-related.”

“We’re hopeful that in both cases, they’re short-term,” Boone said.

Good Judge news?

Aaron Judge, on the IL for a second time with a right calf strain, increased his baseball activities Friday afternoon at the Stadium. While not offering a timeline, Boone did say: “Based on the injury and based on how he’s tracking now, I am confident he’ll be back before the postseason [starts].”

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