The New York Yankees had a mixed day, with Giancarlo Stanton returning to the starting lineup but Nestor Cortes Jr. being placed on the 15-day injured list with a grade two strain of his left groin.
On Sunday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Cortes stated he felt groin pain for the first time on his “second or third pitch of the game.”
“While we were still in the game, I didn’t think much of it. And so I wished to compete and give my team the greatest possible opportunity of winning, “Cortes detailed his efforts against the Blue Jays in a 4-2 victory. “And I just kept plugging away at it. Prior to the MRI, I had no idea how serious it actually was. I still didn’t think anything was wrong the next day, but my limp convinced my doctor that an MRI was necessary.”
Cortes was able to battle through and pitch six innings of one-run ball, giving the Yankees their lone victory of the four-game series, despite catcher Jose Trevino’s motioning to manager Aaron Boone after Cortes’ first few pitches to indicate something was going on.
The #Yankees welcomed Giancarlo Stanton back to the starting lineup but suffered yet another blow to their pitching staff, with Nestor Cortes Jr. going on the 15-day injured list with a grade two left groin strain.https://t.co/gMQMbHpKq7
— Marly Rivera (@MarlyRiveraESPN) August 26, 2022
“In the heat of the moment my body was feeling right,” Cortes remarked. “Muscles were already warmed up, so the sensation wasn’t too awful. If things had been direr, I’m pretty sure I would have quit. But since I was participating, because my adrenaline was pumping, it didn’t hurt all that much.”
Stanton, who has been out with left Achilles tendinitis since July 23, returned to the Yankees lineup on Sunday. At the Oakland Coliseum, Stanton went through his whole pregame ritual and took live batting practice before coming out to bat third as the designated hitter.
Boone said that Stanton was pain-free and ready to play after returning from IL, and it appeared that way after Stanton smacked a two-run single in his second at-bat. With a 4-0 lead over the Athletics in the second inning, the Yankees jumped out to a quick start thanks to a Stanton single that clocked in at 117.7 mph.
Boone exclaimed, “Really happy to have him back,” in reference to Stanton, who the team expects to see action in the outfield during some point of their current 10-game road trip. For now, he’ll be the designated hitter, but he’ll keep working on his outfield strength in the pregame so he can play there when the time comes.
Greg Weissert, a right-handed minor leaguer, was called up to take Cortes Jr.’s place on the active roster for the Yankees. Harrison Bader, an outfielder, was also moved to the 60-day disabled list due to plantar fasciitis.
With a 2.68 ERA over 131 innings pitched, Cortes has been one of the greatest pitchers in baseball this season. He was named to the All-Star team for the first time this year. He had never thrown more than 115 innings in his minor league career, but he has already surpassed that mark. Cortes’ 2.6 fWAR ranks second among Yankee starters, behind only Gerrit Cole’s 2.8.
When asked about the timing of his injury, Cortes remarked, “I feel like if there was a time for it to happen, it would be now instead of the middle of September or late September going into the playoffs or October.” I need to take care of my health so that when the playoffs roll around, I can compete on equal footing with the other players.
Boone stated that right-handed pitcher Clarke Schmidt would start Sunday’s game at Oakland in place of Cortes. So far this season, Schmidt has thrown 33 innings in 22 games as a reliever, but in his previous minor league stop with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, he was pushed out to pitch starter innings.
This season, Weissert has pitched in 40 games for the RailRiders, recording a 1.76 ERA, 18 saves in 19 opportunities, and 67 strikeouts in 46 innings of work, thus compelling the Yankees to give him a shot in the majors.
Boone has remarked about Weissert, “We really like him.” A member of the coaching staff said, “He’s kind of rocketed through our system a couple of years…sort he’s of kicked his way in and we think he’s a guy that can, not only fill a slot [on the roster], but comes up here and influences us.”
Using “his finest pitches in tight situations,” as Weissert put it, was the key to his success this year. To be sure, I’ll be ahead of the game more often and throwing more strikes this year.
The Yankees received encouraging news on their injured pitching staff when Luis Severino (lat strain) threw live batting practice for the first time last Tuesday, with his fastball reaching 95-97 mph.
When the team travels to Tampa on the last weekend of August, reliever pitcher Miguel Castro (right shoulder strain) is expected to throw a bullpen. Even Castro is expected back in the middle of September. In preparation for the Yankees’ next series in Anaheim, closer Clay Holmes (lower back discomfort) threw a 25-pitch bullpen and is set to throw live batting practice.
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