Yankees starter Nestor Cortes is optimistic that he’ll be ready to go by Opening Day.
Cortes has been dealing with a hamstring strain that will keep him out of the World Baseball Classic for Team USA and raised some concerns about his availability for the start of the 2023 season. Days later it was revealed that Frankie Montas would undergo shoulder surgery, but Cortes’ issues aren’t deemed as serious.
“Yeah, I think it’s a possibility,” Cortes said when asked about being ready for Opening Day. “The hamstring can be a little tricky sometimes, but I think we’ve done a good job of taking care of it. Being on top of it every single day to be as ready as possible.”
Cortes is coming off a breakout season with the Yankees where he went 12-4 with a 2.44 ERA in 28 starts. He was also one of four Yankees to be named to the MLB All-Star Game this past season.
The success of Cortes jettisoned him to popularity among Yankees fans, something he called “a dream come true.”
“I can remember being a little kid and watching baseball all day and all night and not even picturing myself being that situation,” Cortes said. “Now that I’m here, and have all these shirts and all these fans rooting for me. These kids wearing fake mustaches in the stadium, it’s pretty surreal for me and hopefully, I can keep embracing it. And keep showing the world what I can do and hopefully everybody can keep following.”
Cortes will have a tough act to follow after his impressive 2022 campaign, but the addition of Carlos Rodon should help ease some of the pressure for him. It now puts ace Gerrit Cole and Rodon in front of him in the rotation and gives the Yankees a deeper group of starting pitchers.
The Yankees open the regular season on March 30 against the San Francisco Giants.