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Right elbows of Cole, Giolito big topic before spring training game between Yankees and Red Sox

The topic before, during and after the spring training game between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees on Wednesday revolved around ailing right elbows.

For Boston, the news wasn't a complete surprise with righty Lucas Giolito likely done for the season following surgery. It wasn't the Tommy John version, though, which could mean a quicker return.

For New York, things remain uncertain as ace Gerrit Cole continues to undergo tests on his elbow after experiencing issues in bouncing back following spring training starts. He flew to Los Angeles on Wednesday to see special Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone didn't want to speculate on the extent of the injury in an interview during a 9-4 loss to the Red Sox. He didn't have a timeline after the game, either.

“I understand it’s Gerrit Cole and it’s a big story,” Boone said. “But I’m not going to jump to a conclusion or speculate. We’re still in the gathering of information, and then everyone’s got to weigh in to determine what exactly we have.”

Cole, the 2023 AL Cy Young Award winner, has been throwing fewer pitches in his spring training starts this year than other rotation members. The 33-year-old had an MRI exam on Monday and followed that up on Tuesday with X-rays and a CT scan.

“As much as it sounds crazy, you try not to get ahead of yourself too much with things especially when you don’t know things,” Boone said.

The Red Sox announced before their game that Giolito underwent ulnar collateral ligament repair surgery Tuesday with an internal brace on his right elbow. The typical recovery from the internal brace surgery, which uses an artificial material to make the repair, has allowed pitchers to return to the major leagues in as little as nine months. With Tommy John surgery, where a tendon replaces a torn ligament, it can require a rehab period of 12 to 18 months.

Giolito had the procedure performed by Dr. Jeffrey R. Dugas at the Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedics Center in Birmingham, Alabama. The 29-year-old Giolito made two starts in spring training for the Red Sox after signing a $38.5 million, two-year deal.

"I do believe it was like the best-case scenario,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said before the Yankees game. “Seeing what has happened with this procedure in the past, he’s going to be able to go out there and throw his changeup and his good fastball and help the Red Sox win some more games.”

RODÓN'S OUTING

The only hit allowed by lefty Carlos Rodón over four innings against Boston was a homer. After retiring his first 10 batters, Rodón gave up a 421-foot drive by Triston Casas. He struck out three over a 68-pitching outing that featured improved fastball velocity reaching 97 mph.

“Today I got to build some confidence, Rodón said.

Rodón had allowed three homers over 5 2/3 innings in his previous two spring-training starts. He is scheduled to start the Yankees’ second regular season game Mar. 29 at Houston.

SEOUL BOUND

Los Angeles Dodgers righty Yoshinobu Yamamoto struck out the side in the first against Seattle before allowing four runs over 4 2/3 innings. That's quite a way to finish up his time in spring training in Arizona.

The Dodgers are soon off to Seoul, South Korea, for their opener against San Diego on March 20.

Shohei Ohtani and the Dodgers will face the Kiwoom Heroes in an exhibition Sunday, while South Korea takes on the Padres. San Diego plays the LG Twins in another exhibition Monday and South Korea plays the Dodgers.

Then, it’s the real thing, with games next Wednesday and Thursday. Game 1 is slated to see LA's Tyler Glasnow and San Diego's Yu Darvish take the mound. In Game 2, Yamamoto, fresh off signing a $325 million, 12-year contract, will start. Joe Musgrove goes for the Padres.

CEASE ON THE MOVE

The Padres picked up right-hander Dylan Cease in a trade with the Chicago White Sox for reliever Steven Wilson and three prospects. The 28-year-old Cease finished runner-up in the AL Cy Young Award voting in 2022. He was 7-9 with a 4.58 ERA last season for a White Sox team that was 61-101.

“He’s a power pitcher who can punch you out,” Padres general manager A.J. Preller said. “When you look at guys who can dominate a game or a season, he’s on a short list of guys who can do that.”

FOR OPENERS

In a post on social media, lefty José Quintana invited all New York Mets fans to come watch him pitch after he received the opening day start against Milwaukee on March 28. The 35-year-old Quintana went 3-6 with a 3.57 ERA last season for New York.

Mets manager Carlos Mendoza announced the decision Wednesday.

In other Mets news, third baseman Brett Baty was a scratch from the lineup with minor back tightness. He’s considered day to day.

BO KNOWS HONORS

Bo Jackson was elected to the Kansas City Royals' Hall of Fame.

The team announced Wednesday that on June 29, the baseball/football standout will be honored in an on-field ceremony before the team plays Cleveland. Jackson shocked the sports world when he elected to play baseball over football and joined the Royals in 1986.

He played five seasons with Kansas City, making an All-Star team in 1989 — and winning the game’s MVP award. In all, Jackson was in the big leagues for eight years, including stints with the Chicago White Sox and the California Angels. He hit a combined .250 with 141 homers and 415 RBIs.

Jackson’s “offseason” endeavors included playing tailback for the Raiders, who were in Los Angeles at that time. He was with them for four seasons, beginning in 1987, before hurting his hip. He rushed for 2,782 yards and 16 TDs.

A Heisman Trophy winner at Auburn, he was inducted into the college football hall of fame in 1998.

OPTING OUT

The Dodgers announced that lefty Justin Wilson opted out of his contract with the team to become a free agent. The 36-year-old Wilson has pitched 11 seasons in the majors. His last big league appearances were with Cincinnati in 2022, when he appeared in five games.

GOING DEEP

Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Oneil Cruz hit his fifth homer of spring training off Toronto's Chris Bassitt on Wednesday. Cruz had 17 homers in 2022 when he finished sixth in the NL rookie of the year voting.

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AP baseball writer Jay Cohen and AP freelance writer Mark Didtler contributed to this report.

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