Nestor Cortes shoots down rumors, posts video to assure fans

Inna Zeyger
Saturday November 4, 2023

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Yankees fans missed Nestor Cortes in the 2023 season. However, the starter is looking ready for the 2024 season and his latest video message has put to rest speculations about his possible shoulder surgery.

Nestor Cortes’ second season after his All-Star campaign had its share of ups and downs, and a significant moment stood out, marking both his peak and his low point.

Nestor Cortes struggled with injury in 2023

In the early part of the year, Nestor Cortes faced an ambiguous challenge, making his first 11 starts a struggle. Suddenly, he found it difficult to navigate through a lineup multiple times. However, the turning point came on May 30 when he displayed a five-inning improvement in Seattle before landing on the injured list due to a rotator cuff strain. Following a two-month hiatus, which included some rehab appearances in July, he returned to face the Astros in August.

In that game, Nestor Cortes rekindled his form, resembling the pitcher known for his enigmatic fastball. He expertly maneuvered his heater, inducing swings and misses despite clocking just under 94 MPH. Against the Astros, he allowed only one hit, a home run, during his four innings on the mound. He struck out eight batters and recaptured his lost effectiveness.

Yankees starting pitcher Nestor Cortes is presented with the 2022 Latino MVP award at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 20, 2023.

In typical fashion for the 2023 Yankees, this marked the moment when things took a turn for the worse. Nestor Cortes found himself on the injured list again, just before his next scheduled start, with a very familiar rotator cuff strain. Questions arose: Did he return too hastily? Was his shoulder in more trouble than anticipated? Would the Yankees ever see the 2022 version of Cortes Jr. again without resorting to surgery? It appeared as though hopes for 2024 were in jeopardy before the season even began.

Posted video assuring Yankees fans

Since then, the amiable left-hander has mostly stayed out of the spotlight. However, he made a welcome return with a small piece of good news on Wednesday. Nestor Cortes shared a video of himself engaged in a full-speed throwing session with a weighted back wrap, suggesting that surgery may not be on the immediate horizon. It’s a long offseason ahead before Number 65 steps into the light of Opening Day, but at least there’s progress to be noted.

Nestor Cortes had his work cut out for him, trying to follow up his original season, which included that memorable mic’d up moment on the mound during the 2022 All-Star Game when he chatted with catcher Jose Trevino. Unfortunately, his plans for an encore were dashed before they could even take off. His 2022 season ended on a low note with a groin issue during the ALCS, which saw him leave the mound during Game 4 against Houston.

New York Yankees starting pitcher Nestor Cortes at Yankee Stadium.

As he vanished into the shadows of the clubhouse last summer, fan concerns went beyond the remainder of the 2023 season. The bigger worry was his readiness for 2024 and the possibility of a career-altering surgery and challenging recovery related to a delicate area. While Nestor Cortes won’t be completely in the clear until the new season begins, it’s a huge relief to see that he’s on the right path to recovery.

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