A soul for a soul.
Giancarlo Stanton returns to action tonight against the Oakland Athletics, but unfortunately, left-hander Nestor Cortes finds himself placed on the injured list with a groin problem. Cortes was scheduled to start on Saturday night, and the Yankees will have to come up with a contingency plan for that outing. Reliever Greg Weissert was recalled to take Cortes’ place on the active roster. (Due to the Wednesday offday, manager Aaron Boone does have the option of simply sliding both Domingo Germán and Frankie Montas up a day since they’ll be on normal rest.)
Hopefully, this is mostly precautionary. At this point in the season, everyone has an ache or pain, and Cortes is too important to a potential pennant chase in October to gamble with his health now. He’s been one of the 20 best pitchers in baseball all year, and critically, provided a level of stability that co-ace Gerrit Cole hasn’t always had.
Cortes has also blown through his previous career high in innings-pitched — his 131 frames this season represents 44 percent of his career MLB total, and he never topped 115 down in the minors. It was inevitable that the Yankees would try and find some way to slow down his workload to get him fresh for the postseason, and hopefully this injury is that opportunity. With Luis Severino on the shelf until September, the rotation isn’t at its deepest right now, but that’s the potential tradeoff needed to get the team as set for October as possible.
Outside of the playoff machinations, this is just a bummer. Not only has Nestor been the most consistent pitcher in the rotation, he’s as fun a guy to watch as any in baseball. His stuff is legitimately PitchNinja-worthy, and the way he’ll vary deliveries to mess with timing makes his starts appointment viewing. I’m booked to cover and livetweet Saturday’s game with the A’s, and it’s disappointing that I won’t get to watch Cortes work.
I would imagine Clarke Schmidt, who had been stretched out in the minors, will slide into the rotation soon. Keep an eye on PSA’s further coverage for confirmation.
If there’s any solace, it does not appear that Cortes is particularly concerned about the injury. He pitched through it during his last start, and threw at 120 feet today in addition to doing sprints. So that’s a good sign that this should hopefully be a minimal IL stay.