TAMPA — Two exhibition starts into what the Yankees pray will be a healthy and successful career in pinstripes, Gerrit Cole has fit the part of what the club thought he would be when the right-hander signed a nine-year deal for a whopping $324 million in December.
Weather permitting, Opening Day in Baltimore is set for March 26, and there is nobody else but Cole who will be on the Camden Yards mound for his Yankees debut.
With the mundane days of throwing only bullpens then batting practice long gone, it is not late in spring training but it’s moving toward realism for Cole — the leader of a rotation that has two openings because James Paxton is recovering from back surgery and Luis Severino will be out for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
“We had a good routine today, Gary [Sanchez] and I. Before the game, getting settled in with the analytics and the whole new routine, how it is going to flow here,’’ Cole said after throwing 2 ²/₃ shutout innings against the Tigers in an 8-2 Yankees victory at Steinbrenner Field on Saturday — when he gave up two hits, struck out two and didn’t issue a walk. Of Cole’s 30 pitches, 21 were strikes. “I…