Nestor Cortes boost for Yankees, pitcher to return next week

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John Allen
Saturday September 3, 2022

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Nestor Cortes doesn’t feel pain anymore while throwing and feels ready to return to starting lineup of the Yankees. The pitcher expects to be included in the starting lineup as early as next week.

The 2022 All-start was put on a 15-day injured list following a strained groin on August 25. His injury was a blow to the struggling New York’s pitching options. However, Cortes has recovered and joined live batting practice.

The Cuban-American, who is on his third stint with the Yankees, is happy that his injury was unable to prevent him from returning. He may have more bullpen pitching on Monday or Tuesday to evaluate his fitness.

Cortes is now throwing without any pain and expects to return to the lineup during the games against the Twins at Yankee Stadium.

“It was great, t went as I expected,” Cortes answered to reporters when asked about his injury following a minor league outing in Tampa.

He threw 45 pitches in three innings there without any symptom associated with a strained groin.

The left-handed pitcher was happy to inform reporters that he pitched in the presence of manager Aaron Boone without any pain or injury that forced him earlier to move to the injured list.

Cortes pitched in the range of 92-94 mph, his average during games. Among others, pitching coach Matt Blake was present to see him pitch.

“That tests my groin more, when I drop down,” Cortes said while talking to reporters in the wake of the Yankees’ 2-1 loss at Tropicana Field. He added, “I never stopped throwing so I don’t really have to build myself back up.”

Under-pressure manager Boone too found Cortes healthy, good, and fit to return.

The left-handed pitcher had some immaculate performance against the Orioles and the Rangers earlier this season.

In another good news for the Yankees fans, Luis Severino is also doing well. The Dominican pitcher was out following strained lat. He threw well at Low-A Tampa during his rehab game. New York expects him to return to the team as soon as he is ready.

Severino may throw at a second rehab game with the RailRiders and a possibly third before getting back to the starting lineup.

Domingo German did his job well against the Rays as a substitute for Severino on Saturday. However, the team needs wins and can’t afford to lose more games.

Cortes and Severino on the active roster could be a big boost to the injury-riddled Yankees, who expect to field Jameson Taillon after he was found negative for a forearm fracture. They need to fire all cylinders to maintain their AL East lead that the Rays reduced to four on Saturday.

As the pitching department is set to gain strength with Cortes and Severino, the Yankees need to overturn their lack of offense.

Oswald Peraza, who got a surprise call-up to the September roster, took to the field in his first MLB game and ended the seventh inning with a double play.

Zack Britton’s rehab game on Saturday went better than his last one, where he complained about leg cramps. The left hander struck out two at a Tampa minor league game to showcase his recovery from surgery.

Ryan Weber, who took to the roster after the Yankees designated veteran reliever Anthony Banda on assignment, may play for the RailRiders on Saturday. Weber has an excellent record with just one run in 7 2/3 innings. Stephen Ridings and Chasen Shreve are also waiting in the wings after their minor league games.

Can Nestor Cortes return help turn the slide? Will he be able to return against the Twins?

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