Yankees P Nestor Cortes shut down with rotator cuff strain, ‘probably’ done for the season

Nestor Cortes’ return for the New York Yankees could last one start total.

The team placed Cortes on the 15-day injured list on Friday, retroactive to Tuesday, with a left rotator cuff strain, six days after he made his return from a shoulder injury that had sidelined him since May.

Speaking with reporters after the move, Cortes reportedly said the current plan for him won’t require surgery, but he will be shut down from throwing for a month. He said he felt irregular soreness during his return on Sunday that was similar to his initial shoulder issue, but in a different location.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone later conceded it would “probably be tough” for Cortes to make it back this season. His current shutdown will take him through mid-September, at which point he would have to start rehabbing just to have a chance at a late-season or postseason appearance for the Yankees.

New York Yankees pitcher Nestor Cortes during the third inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals, Saturday, July 30, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
New York Yankees pitcher Nestor Cortes during the third inning of a game against the Kansas City Royals on July 30, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Cortes, an All-Star last year, currently holds a 4.97 ERA, 4.49 FIP and 1.247 WHIP with 67 strikeouts in 63 1/3 innings across 12 starts, 11 of which were in April and May. He wasn’t looking like the pitcher he had been for the Yankees in his previous two seasons, but his return provided reason for optimism with eight strikeouts in four innings with only one hit allowed, a solo homer, against the Houston Astros.

Now, Cortes’ most recent start could be his last of 2023, continuing an injury-filled season for the Yankees. The team remains in last place in the AL East at 59-56, but only five games back from the Toronto Blue Jays for the final wild-card spot.

With Carlos Rodón and Frankie Montas also still on the IL, the Yankees might might have to attempt catching the Jays with a rotation composed of Gerrit Cole, Luis Severino, Jhony Brito, Clarke Schmidt and Randy Vasquez.

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