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Nestor Cortes Hopes to be Healthy for Start of 2023 Season

The Yankees starter is skipping the World Baseball Classic due to a hamstring injury.

Nestor Cortes was eager to pitch for the United States in the World Baseball Classic, but a surprise hamstring injury is keeping him out of the international exhibition. Now the Yankees southpaw is focused on healing in time for the start of the 2023 major league campaign.

“I think the ultimate goal here is to get ready for No. 28,” Cortes said of the Yankees’ championship aspirations, per’s Bryan Hoch. “I think it’s kind of a letdown for the country, but I think the biggest goal right here is to get healthy and be ready for the start of the season.”

Cortes hurt his hamstring on Feb. 6 while running sprints near his home in Florida. The injury will keep him off the mound for at least two weeks, though he has continued to throw and workout. Cortes said 15-20 spring training innings should get him ready for the season, according to Hoch.

The Rockies’ Kyle Freeland replaced Cortes on Team USA’s WBC roster. The Yankees’ participants are down to catcher Kyle Higashioka (United States), second baseman Gleyber Torres (Venezuela) and reliever Jonathan Loáisiga (Nicaragua).

Cortes cemented his place in the Yankees’ rotation last year with a career year. The 28-year-old went 12-4 with a 2.44 ERA, earned his first All-Star nod and even collected a few Cy Young votes. He also threw a career-high 158.1 innings and battled a groin injury down the stretch and in the playoffs.

Per Hoch, Cortes’ groin injury was not an issue over the offseason.

While Cortes hopes to be ready for Opening Day, he is the second member of the Yankees’ rotation to hit the shelf before spring training could even begin. The right-handed Frankie Montas is dealing with shoulder inflammation on his throwing side and is expected to miss the start of the season.

That leaves Gerrit Cole, free agent signing Carlos Rodón and Luis Severino as the only healthy members of New York’s rotation right now. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman recently opted against Severino pitching in the WBC due to his own injury history. 


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