Nestor Cortes signals faster return with a 22-pitch bullpen session

Nestor Cortes at 2023 Yankees spring training camp on Feb 18.

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Tampa, FL., — The Yankees fans have a chance to see Nestor Cortes on the opening day roster. The Nasty Nestor legend is too strong to get overwhelmed by any setback. While there is speculation over his injury, the left-handed pitcher threw 22 bullpen pitches on Friday morning and said he felt fine.

“Everything felt good, better than I expected actually,” Cortes told after Friday training session. “Ever since [Monday] till now, we’ve been working pretty intense and hard to feel as normal as possible.” 

Earlier this week Nestor Cortes pulled out of the World Baseball Classic following a hamstring injury. Reports suggested it was a Grade 2 hamstring strain and could keep the starting pitcher away from the mound for a few weeks. However, what at first seemed to be at least a little bit of a problem could have just been a small hiccup for Nestor Cortes.

At first, Nestor Cortes thought that his injury would keep him from pitching for more than a week. But he joined the Yankees’ spring training camp and pitched 22 times on Friday to show that he was back on track to keep getting ready for the season.

Earlier manager Aaron Boone expressed optimism that Nestor Cortes could return any day.

After the bullpen session, Nestor Cortes ran sprints at about 75%, which is what he said caused his hamstring strain last week. He did this without any problem.

“Nestor was really sharp,” Boone said on Friday. “I was really encouraged. His stuff was really good and his command and sharpness in his bullpen were really good. No issues for him as far as getting over that front leg or anything like that. He continues to move in a good direction.” 

The quick turnaround doesn’t mean that Nestor Cortes will be back on Team USA for the WBC, but the Yankees can breathe a sigh of relief. Any real injury to Cortes would have hurt the rotation, which had already lost Frankie Montas, who was going to have shoulder surgery that could keep him out for most or all of the season.

Nestor Cortes is training with his teammates at Yankees 2023 spring training camp on Feb 17.

Nestor Cortes said that he is still working his way back up to running to make sure he doesn’t hurt his hamstring again.

“We spoke with the training staff [Monday] and they told me we were going to try to take it as how I felt throughout the week,” Cortes said. “Obviously I made good strides and felt better. No issue as far as throwing and landing, because that leg is a little tough to moderate that pain. But as of now, there’s no pain.”

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