Happy Sunday. The Yankees are trying to avoid getting swept by the last-place Tigers today (yikes), and they needed some fresh arms after Deivi García and Albert Abreu handled the entire forgettable game on Saturday. Both pitchers were sent back to Triple-A Scranton, and to fill their spots, the Yankees made two moves.
The less interesting one is that Nick Nelson was brought back. Given that Nelson was smoked in his six-game stint in the bigs earlier this year (9.72 ERA, 1.920 WHIP) and has only been so-so in six outings with Scranton (3.09 ERA with a better 0.940 WHIP but also 1.5 HR/9), his addition is more about getting a fresh body in there. At the very least, we should see some strikeouts since he’s notched a 15.3 K/9 between both the minors and majors this year.
The Yankees also brought back an old friend: Nestor Cortes Jr. The 26-year-old appeared in 33 games for the 2019 team, pitching to a 5.67 ERA, 5.57 FIP, and an 80 ERA+. The team understandably dealt him to the Mariners in the offseason, and after five forgettable outings with Seattle in 2020, he rejoined the Yanks on a minor league deal this year. So far, Cortes has actually been quite good in Triple-A — through 15 innings, he has a 1.20 ERA, a 2.09 FIP, and 18 strikeouts with just a single walk and homer allowed.
Expect a lot of changing arm slots and delivery adjustments if Cortes makes an appearances today. The southpaw likes to mix things up:
Since King might just be opening today, expect to see Cortes and possibly also Nelson in action on Sunday. (Update: lol who was I kidding with the optimism since the Tigers knocked Cortes around, too.)
To make room for Cortes on the 40-man roster, Aaron Hicks was transferred to the 60-day IL. He’s expected to be out for the season with surgery to repair the torn tendon sheath in his wrist, so no surprises there.
Manager Aaron Boone also provided a few injury updates to notable players in a pregame Zoom. Corey Kluber is seeking further opinions as the Yankees try to get a handle on his shoulder injury. He was diagnosed with a shoulder strain last week and is likely out for the next two months. Hopefully, they get some good news soon on him because the rotation will miss him — especially since the likes of García and Michael King had to be entrusted with starts this weekend. They expect to know more on “Tuesday or Wednesday.”
Luke Voit is expected to miss “at least a few weeks” with his oblique strain. His wife, Tori, just gave birth to their first child this weekend, so he’s away from the team, but it’s good that the Yankees think that he might not be out quite as long as say, Aaron Judge in 2019, due to a similar oblique injury. Mike Ford’s presence in the lineup in Voit’s absence isn’t intimating anyone.
Luis Severino is getting closer to game action. He’s on a six-day rotation of sim games right now and Boone hinted that Severino could begin a rehab assignment — likely in Tampa — at the end of next week if all goes well. Since he’s recovering from Tommy John surgery, it would probably be a lengthy rehab stint before he could come back to the Yankees, but the road is paved if Severino’s elbow cooperates.
Finally, Zack Britton is feeling fine after his first rehab appearance with the Somerset Patriots on Saturday. He threw 18 pitches, inducing three grounders and an infield single through a scoreless frame. Since all went well, Britton will throw a bullpen today at Yankee Stadium, hopefully paving the way for a return to the Major League club in short order.