TAMPA, Fla. — Gerrit Cole ambled into the clubhouse at the New York Yankees‘ facility for the first time the other day, glancing at the placards at the tops of the lockers to find his name and his spot. The Cucuzza brothers, Rob and Lou, make the decisions about who sits where, and Cole got the locker formerly occupied by Aroldis Chapman, who, because of his seniority among the pitchers, was moved to the coveted and spacious spot CC Sabathia had for years.
Cole has a pretty good locker, right underneath the clubhouse television, very handy for March Madness days, and as it turns out, he resides right next to a former teammate from his Pirates days, J.A. Happ. When Happ walked over, Cole greeted him happily, extending his forearm after noticing they both had the same modest watches.
In Pittsburgh, Happ and Cole were catch partners, sharing the daily ritual of tossing a baseball, and they are reunited in this. As Cole joked happily, he’s relieved he won’t be the guy left out.
While Cole’s former Houston teammates are stuck in apology prison on the other side of the state, doomed to serve an indefinite sentence of penance, Cole is here, seemingly like a college student excited in…