Spring training stats spark big hopes for Nestor Cortes’ 2024 comeback

Nestor Cortes Jr at Yankees spring training facility in Tampa 2024

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As the MLB gears up for the 2024 season, all eyes are on the New York Yankees’ pitcher, Nestor Cortes, following a promising start in spring training. After a challenging 2023 marred by injuries, Cortes’ recent performance has fans and analysts alike hopeful for a robust comeback. Throwing 48 pitches in his first outing against the Twins, Cortes displayed both resilience and skill, hinting at what could be a triumphant return to the mound.

A promising start to 2024

Nestor Cortes’ first game of the 2024 spring training was nothing short of a statement. Displaying significant improvements in both the velocity and movement of his pitches compared to the previous year, Nestor Cortes seems to have left his shoulder issues in the past. In 2023, his fastball (FF) was clocked at 91.7 MPH with a vertical movement of 17.9, and his cutter (CT) at 85.9 MPH with a vertical movement of 5.3. Fast forward to 2024, and Cortes has upped his game with a fastball reaching 92.2 MPH and exhibiting a 19.8 vertical movement, while his cutter now stands at 87.2 MPH with an 8.5 vertical leap.

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X-@RonBohning

This improvement is a testament to Cortes’ hard work and the Yankees’ faith in his recovery. Following his 2 ²/₃ innings stint, which contributed to a 9-2 victory, Nestor Cortes shared, “Everything positive…Pitches were really crisp. Threw it to the locations I wanted to throw. Most important, I got out of there healthy. Big step forward.” This performance, coupled with his enhanced pitch metrics, signals a potentially successful and fit 2024 season ahead.

Overcoming the challenges of 2023

The 2023 season was a tough period for Cortes, primarily due to recurring shoulder issues that led to multiple stints on the injured list. Finishing the year with a 5–2 record but an elevated ERA of 4.97 in 12 starts, it was clear that his fitness levels were not where they needed to be. His immediate post-game soreness and the difficulty in movement the following day underscored the severity of his condition.

However, Cortes took the offseason to refocus and rehabilitate. Relocating his training to the Yankees’ complex in Tampa allowed him access to specialized treatment and a tailored strengthening program for his shoulder. This strategic move has shown promising results, as Cortes noted a significant improvement in his recovery time and overall shoulder health. “I’m pretty confident it’s behind me,” he remarked, indicating a newfound optimism about his physical state.

A bright horizon ahead for Nestor Cortes

With the 2024 MLB season on the horizon, Nestor Cortes’ spring training performance has not only boosted his confidence but also that of the Yankees’ management and fans. His ability to pitch with increased velocity and precision, coupled with a clean bill of health, sets a positive tone for the year. Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone expressed his satisfaction with Cortes’ progress, stating, “He’s been building so much good momentum here the last six to eight weeks…His progression’s gone really well. Hopefully, it continues that way.”

As spring training progresses, the focus will remain on Cortes’ recovery and performance. If he maintains his current trajectory, the Yankees could have a revitalized weapon in their pitching arsenal for the 2024 season. Cortes’ journey from injury-plagued seasons to a promising comeback is a testament to his resilience and dedication, offering a beacon of hope for a successful year ahead. What do you think? Leave your comment below!

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