The New York Yankees are getting healthier as spring training moves along, despite losing a number of catchers up to this point. Most of the team’s injuries have been to reserve players, which, while impactful, certainly doesn’t hurt the team as much as a prominent starter going down.
The most notable injury has been Frankie Montas, who is expected to miss the majority of the 2023 season. However, one of the team’s best starters and most influential players is Nestor Cortés, and he seems to have dodged an injury bullet to his hamstring.
Everything’s good. I’ve thrown a couple of lives where I’ve looked pretty good. I’m anxious to throw in a game.Via Randy Miller of NJ.com.
The Yankees need Nestor Cortes to be 100% healthy for Opening Day:
Cortes is working his way back diligently and should be ready for the start of the regular season at the end of March. Having signed a one-year, $3.2 million deal to avoid arbitration, Cortes is hoping to run back his 2022 season.
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He enjoyed a team-best 2.44 ERA, 3.63 xFIP, 9.27 strikeouts per nine, an 82.8% left on-base rate, and an 8.2% HR/FB ratio across 158.1 innings. If he can push beyond that innings threshold in 2023, the Yankees can get exponential value from him.
The problem is that Nestor had never pitched that many innings in a single season before, and fatigue started settling in as the postseason rolled around. He struggled in the playoffs because of it, seeing his velocity drop off and accuracy fail to remain consistent.
Nonetheless, when Cortes is at the top of his game, he’s incredibly difficult to hit. I imagine he will do some creative things with a pitch clock this year, leveraging his fun wind-ups and speed to get the ball out quickly and catch batters off their game.
It is great news to see that Cortes has already thrown a couple of live batting practice sessions, so I believe manager Aaron Boone wants to get him involved in spring training at some point in the near future.