The New York Yankees have lost yet another starting pitcher. On Friday afternoon, the Yankees announced lefty Nestor Cortes has been placed on the 15-day injured list with a left rotator cuff strain. Righty Jhony Brito was called up in a corresponding move. The Yankees open a three-game series with the Miami Marlins at loanDepot Park on Friday night.
Cortes, 28, spent more than two months on the injured list with a rotator cuff strain earlier this season. He returned last Saturday and looked excellent, striking out eight in four innings of one-run ball while on a 65-pitch limit.
"Felt like I was a lot stronger than where I was three months ago, even to start the season," Cortes told MLB.com following that start.
On Friday afternoon, Cortes told reporters, including Newsday, he will be shut down "about a month," which means the injury very well may end his season. He added the discomfort is in a different spot than the last injury, when he had trouble recovering between starts. The Yankees pushed his next scheduled start back a day hoping his shoulder would feel better, but no dice.
New York's starting pitchers enter play Friday ranked 19th in ERA (4.56) and 26th in WAR (4.8) despite having Gerrit Cole, the current AL Cy Young favorite. Cole leads all pitchers with 4.8 WAR, a full win more than anyone else. But behind Cole, the rotation is a complete mess:
- RHP Gerrit Cole (amazing)
LHP Carlos Rodón(7.33 ERA in six starts and )
- RHP Luis Severino (8.06 ERA in 14 games)
LHP Nestor Cortes(likely done for the season with a shoulder injury) RHP Frankie Montas(has not pitched this year after shoulder surgery) RHP Domingo Germán( )
- RHP Clarke Schmidt (has been a pleasant surprise overall and very good the last two months)
- RHP Jhony Brito (5.02 ERA in 14 games)
- RHP Randy Vásquez (1.17 ERA in three spot starts)
Brito and Vásquez, who was also called up Friday, will now slide into the rotation. As recently as a week ago, the Yankees were considering demoting Severino to the bullpen, but the Rodón and Cortes injuries mean they have little choice but to continue starting him..
"It's definitely tough," Cortes told MLB.com about his injury Friday. "If we're going to make a run at it, we need everyone healthy, not only myself, but Rodón and all the other pitchers."
A year ago, Cortes was one of the game's breakout pitchers, throwing 158 1/3 innings with a 2.44 ERA and earning a spot in the All-Star Game. His breakout really dates back to 2021, when he was recalled from Triple-A at midseason. From 2021-22, Cortes threw 251 1/3 innings with a 2.61 ERA. He was a 5.0 WAR pitcher those two years.
The Yankees are 59-56 and in last place in the AL East, five games out of a postseason spot., before Rodón and Cortes got hurt and Germán left the team.