Yankees lose fan-favorite pitcher for rest of 2023 season

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May 13, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Nestor Cortes (65) exits the game against the Tampa Bay Rays during the fifth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

As the New York Yankees fully commit to a youth-oriented strategy for the remainder of the 2023 season, they’ve started to bench some of their veteran players dealing with injuries. The strategy aims to foster long-term sustainability, but it comes at the expense of seasoned talent.

Anthony Rizzo Shut Down for 2023, Eyes on 2024

Starting first baseman Anthony Rizzo is one such casualty, ruled out for the remainder of the year due to ongoing concussion symptoms. The Yankees are keen on having Rizzo back in peak form for the 2024 season, prioritizing his complete recovery.

Nestor Cortes Benched Due to Rotator Cuff Strain

Manager Aaron Boone also broke the news that starting pitcher Nestor Cortes would not return for the rest of this season. Cortes has been battling a rotator cuff strain, an injury he exacerbated on August 11, landing him back on the injured list.

Cortes’ Disappointing 2023 Season Stats

Cortes, unfortunately, is in the midst of a lackluster 2023 campaign. He’s racked up a 4.97 ERA, a 4.86 xFIP, 9.52 strikeouts per nine, a 69.1% left-on-base rate, and a rather low 26.3% ground ball rate. With only 63.1 innings pitched, Cortes is falling far short of the 158.1 innings he put up last year.

2024: A Year for Redemption?

Cortes was originally pegged to be a pivotal element in the Yankees’ rotation this season. However, his ongoing injury woes have effectively derailed those plans. The hope is that he can make a full recovery and reclaim his former prowess in 2024, particularly as the Yankees are projected to have a healthier lineup by then.

The Inconsistent Yankees Rotation: More Than Just Cortes

But Cortes isn’t the only question mark in the rotation. Carlos Rodon has been making frequent trips to the injured list, and Luis Severino hasn’t been having a banner year either. On paper, the Yankees appeared to have an indomitable rotation at the start of the season, but the reality has proven to be less stellar.

Nestor Cortes Aiming to Recapture 2022 Glory

Looking ahead, Cortes is likely eager to replicate his exceptional 2022 performance. That year, he boasted a 2.44 ERA, struck out 9.27 batters per nine, maintained an 82.8% left-on-base rate, and upheld a 33.5% ground-ball rate, even earning his first-ever All-Star appearance.

The Yankees’ choices signal a broader shift in strategy, one that fans and analysts will be watching closely as the team prepares for a hopefully healthier and more successful 2024 season.

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