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Yankees Name Nestor Cortés Opening Day Starter

Opening Day just got nasty after the Yankees announced on Friday that Nestor Cortés will be their Opening Day starter. Cortés will take the mound for the Yankees when they open the season in place of an injured Gerrit Cole. The reigning AL Cy Young winner is expected to miss the next 10-12 weeks with an elbow injury. Cole was experiencing “discomfort” in his elbow and was not recovering well between outings, which led the Yankees to order an MRI. The injury will not require surgery now, and Cole could return after “rest, rehab, and some conservative, non-surgical” treatments.



Yankees manager Aaron Boone ruled out both Carlos Rodón and Marcus Stroman for Opening Day, saying it was too late to change their spring schedules. That left the Yankees with fan favorite Nestor Cortés and Clarke Schmidt as their Opening Day options.

Yankees Name Nestor Cortés Opening Day Starter

Nestor Cortés had a breakout season in 2022, earning his first All-Star selection and finishing eighth in Cy Young voting. Cortés struggled through 12 starts last year and spent most of the season on the injured list. He spent much of the offseason between his South Florida home and the Yankees’ Tampa complex, focusing on his rehab. The offseason rehab appears to have helped, as Cortés says that he feels healthy and is recovering well between outings.

Cortés has had a rough spring, allowing nine earned runs on 17 hits while striking out 13 over 10 innings. Most of the damage came when he gave up six runs on nine hits over 3.1 innings against Minnesota. Cortés has two spring starts left and focuses on getting outs and not allowing runs.

The Yankees hope Cortés can return to form this season and help them return to the postseason. He will open the season against a formidable Astros lineup looking to get back to the World Series. “It’s special,” Cortés said about being named the Yankees’ Opening Day starter. This will be his first Opening Day start, and according to Boone, the 29-year-old is “ready to go.” Nestor will become just the fifth pitcher drafted and signed by the Yankees to start a season opener.

Cortés will also be the first left-hander to start an Opening Day game for the Yankees since CC Sabathia in 2014. He will oppose Astros lefty Framber Valdez when the Yankees travel to Houston to face the Astros on Opening Day, March 28.

Main Photo Credits: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports


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