Yankees’ Nestor Cortes takes key step in return from hamstring strain

Dunedin, Fla. — Nestor Cortez crossed out much of his to-do list on Saturday: his first spring start, his first time on the new pitch clock, his first official run to prepare for the first week of the season. step.

He felt good and his stuff was good. That’s the point, he’ll have to wait for his next start to achieve a statistically impressive performance in Grapefruit in his league, but that hardly matters.

Cortez, who had been rehabbing a hamstring strain in the first month of camp, made his debut on Saturday and allowed two homers in a 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays at TD Ballpark.

Cortez withdrew from Game 4 of the ALCS last year with a left groin strain and started the spring with a hamstring strain. He was feeling good on Saturday and all things considered, he “thought it went pretty well,” Cortez said.

The left-handed pitcher allowed 3 hits in 3 ¹/3 innings, 2 of which were homers by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Whit Merrifield, 3 walks and 5 runs. Cortez recorded his 4 strikeouts, 93.7 mph on a fastball, and said his arsenal was “actually better than I thought.”

Nestor Cortez pitches during spring training with the Blue Jays.
Steve Nesius/UPI/Shutterstock

He missed a few pitches — a slider to Guerrero and a cutter to Merrifield — and against a legitimate major league lineup, the Blue Jays didn’t miss. , we have two more spring starts.

Cortez, who threw 52 pitches (35 strikes) following a hamstring issue, is slightly ahead of what the Yankees expected so far this spring. Without setbacks, he could enter his fourth spot in the rotation. Manager Aaron Boone previously thought Cortez would be the fifth to get an extra day.

In other springs, it’s less of a concern for a pitcher to miss a few Grapefruit League starts. This year, all players are learning the rhythm and coordination of the newly introduced pitch his clock, but Cortez (whose various windups are unaffected by the clock) has always worked quickly .

“Do not think [pace has] After getting hands-on experience with timers for the first time, Cortes said: “There are some pitches that we have to be careful about and it probably takes longer than it should.

Tommy Kahnle (right bicep tendonitis), who started his pitching program on March 10, pitched on Thursday and didn’t pitch as planned on Saturday because he “wasn’t feeling well.”

Boone did not believe that Kahnle needed additional testing.

“The clock slows down a bit until you can throw, bounce, and continue building,” Boone said.

Tommy Carnley
Tommy Carnley
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Carlos Rodon (minor strain in left forearm brachioradialis) played catch for the first time since his injury on Friday.

Rodon starts the season on the injured reserve list and will be sidelined for at least a few weeks.

Harrison Bader (left diagonal strain) has no swing or baseball activity, but center fielder “is doing better than we expected,” Boone said.

Boone said Vader feels good and is happy with the spinning motion. He is expected to miss at least the first few weeks of the season.

Jonathan Roaisiga, who left camp earlier this month to represent Nicaragua in the World Baseball Classic, returned to the Grapefruit League and pitched a scoreless inning.

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