DUNEDIN, Fla. — The Yankees are still hoping for the best with Gerrit Cole. But whatever determination is made following tests on their ace’s right elbow, the reality will be that they need a new Opening Day starter.

There was no firm update Tuesday afternoon regarding Cole’s throwing elbow, which required an MRI exam Monday, but there was acknowledgment that even a clean scan would not leave him enough time to build up in time for March 28 in Houston.

The Yankees have begun discussing who will get the ball instead. The most logical candidate would be Marcus Stroman.

“We’ve started to have those conversations,” manager Aaron Boone said about replacing Cole before the Yankees played the Blue Jays at TD Ballpark. “I should have something on that for you probably in the next couple days.”

For now, the Yankees’ fingers remain crossed.

Cole was undergoing more testing Tuesday, Boone said, without disclosing what those tests consisted of.

“Just more different looks, making sure all the bases are covered,” Boone said.

Cole told the team he was not bouncing back from his spring outings as he usually does. The reigning AL Cy Young winner last pitched in a three-inning, 47-pitch live batting practice session Thursday.

Even if nothing serious is found in the imaging, Cole — who has made just one start in the Grapefruit League — would have to begin building up again with Opening Day just over two weeks away.

Boone said he spoke with Cole on Tuesday morning and was asked how Cole was handling the situation.

“He’s handling it,” Boone said. “Right now, it’s … that uncertainty. You try to get your arms around what exactly’s going on in there.” 

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