NEW YORK — Gerrit Cole threw a baseball for the first time in four weeks Monday. He threw it 25 times from 60 feet. He noted 22 of the 25 tosses hit his target.

The catch session, the first of three scheduled this week, represented an important checkpoint in Cole’s recovery from nerve inflammation in his right elbow that will sideline him at least until late May. That’s a better outlook than a few of his peers across the majors.

Cole is one of several prominent pitchers to sustain a major arm injury since teams reported for spring training in February. The recent surge was unnerving enough for Tony Clark, the Major League Baseball Players Association executive director, to release a statement Saturday blaming the increase in elbow injuries on the pitch clock. Major League Baseball responded with its own statement, without attribution, dismissing Clark’s thesis that day, pointing to the rise of pitcher injuries in recent decades, long before the pitch clock was enforced.

For 20 minutes Monday, Cole, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, addressed the surge of injuries and the ensuing exchange between the parties, saying he was “disheartened” by the back-and-forth.

“I’m just frustrated it’s a combative issue,” he said. “It’s like, ‘OK, we have divorced parents and the child’s misbehaving and we can’t get on the same page to get the child to behave.’ Not that the players are misbehaving, but we have an issue here and we need to get on the same page to at least try and fix it.”

In the meantime, numerous pitchers are dealing with similar injuries.

Across the clubhouse from Cole on Monday was Jonathan Loaisiga, diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. He said he is tentatively scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery next weekend.

Across the field were the Miami Marlins, the team perhaps hardest hit by pitcher injuries. Last week, the club announced 21-year-old Eury Perez, one of the sport’s top young pitchers, will undergo Tommy John surgery. He joined fellow starters Sandy Alcantara (elbow), Edward Cabrera (shoulder) and Braxton Garrett (shoulder) on the Marlins’ injured list.

In addition to Perez, Guardians ace Shane Bieber found out he needed Tommy John surgery, and an MRI revealed structural damage in Braves ace Spencer Strider‘s elbow over the weekend. They joined a list of players out with significant arm injuries that includes Shohei Ohtani, Jacob deGrom, Robbie Ray, Shane McClanahan, Walker Buehler, Lucas Giolito and Dustin May, among others.

Cole said he didn’t have any solutions for the problem but contended MLB’s assertion — that the pitch clock isn’t a factor in the injuries — after one season of implementation is “shortsighted.”

“We are going to really understand the effects of … The pitch clock maybe five years down the road,” Cole said. “But to dismiss it out of hand, I didn’t think that was helpful to the situation. I think the players are obviously the most important aspect of this industry and this product. And the care of the players should be of utmost importance to both sides.”

Cole, 33, recalled “a couple of situations” early last season when he was caught off guard by fatigue. He said he believes the pitch clock was the reason, but he was “able to handle it.” Fellow Yankees right-hander Clarke Schmidt said the clock is a factor.

“I think it can play a factor for sure,” Schmidt said. “I think when you’re having a high-stress inning and it’s like that thing seems like it’s almost zero seconds every single time when there’s runners on base and you’re rushing to get back. So it definitely plays a factor.”

Cole argued the pitch clock is just one variable introduced in recent years that could have negatively impacted pitchers. He noted the shortened ramp-ups before the 2020 and 2022 seasons, the crackdown on pitchers using foreign substances for grip and the industry’s relentless arms race to throw harder and spin the ball more than ever as other possible elements.

“I think it’s just irresponsible for either side to say any one of those things definitely has no impact on pitchers’ elbows or shoulders,” Cole said. “That’s not helpful.”