Yankees’ Nestor Cortes making a comeback from hamstring strain

TAMPA — What first appeared to be at least a slight cause for concern may have just been a measly bump in the road for Nestor Cortes. 

The Yankees left-hander withdrew from the World Baseball Classic on Monday after he was diagnosed with what he described as a low-Grade 2 hamstring strain. 

Initially, Cortes expected the injury to keep him off the mound for more than a week. Instead, he threw a 22-pitch bullpen session on Friday morning and said he felt healthy, putting him back on track to continue his ramp-up for the regular season. 

“Everything felt good, better than I expected actually,” Cortes said Friday afternoon. “Ever since [Monday] till now, we’ve been working pretty intense and hard to feel as normal as possible.” 

After the bullpen session, Cortes ran sprints — which he said initially led to his hamstring strain last week — at around 75 percent without issue. 

Cortes is steadily progressing back from a hamstring injury.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“Nestor was really sharp,” manager Aaron Boone said. “I was really encouraged. His stuff was really good and his command and sharpness in his bullpen were really good. No issues for him as far as getting over that front leg or anything like that. He continues to move in a good direction.” 

The quick turnaround does not mean Cortes will be rejoining Team USA for the WBC, but it is a sigh of relief for the Yankees. Any kind of real injury to Cortes would have been costly after the rotation already lost Frankie Montas to scheduled shoulder surgery that could cost him a large chunk of the season, if not all of it. 

Nestor Cortes pitches in the first inning against the Houston Astros during game four of the ALCS for the 2022 MLB Playoffs.
Nestor Cortes’ hamstring issue that caused him to withdraw from the World Baseball Classic may not be as big of a worry after all.

Cortes said he is still building back up his running progression to make sure he does not aggravate the hamstring, but so far, so good. 

“We spoke with the training staff [Monday] and they told me we were going to try to take it as how I felt throughout the week,” Cortes said. “Obviously I made good strides and felt better. No issue as far as throwing and landing, because that leg is a little tough to moderate that pain. But as of now, there’s no pain.”