With roughly 48 hours remaining until regular season play begins, Nestor Cortes takes the ball this afternoon for one more tune-up before the games really matter, this time with a lineup behind him that looks like something we could see with a fair amount of regularity this summer, even if it’s not quite the full Opening Day ensemble. The only difference, perhaps, between the last lineup of Spring Training and the first of the 2023 season is the absence of Giancarlo Stanton in favor of DJ LeMahieu at DH and a corner outfield combination of Oswaldo Cabrera and Aaron Hicks.
Cabrera (14 RBI) will almost certainly finish the month leading the team in runs driven in this spring, and will also almost certainly enter Opening Day as the fan favorite over Hicks to fill the gap in the outfield left by Harrison Bader’s oblique injury. And of course, the fact that Stanton needs to play the outfield to be able to fit into a lineup with DJ LeMahieu, Josh Donaldson, and Gleyber Torres will put Aaron Boone’s lineup-juggling under even more of a microscope than it typically is.
Having officially claimed the mantle of Opening Day shortstop, Anthony Volpe continues to hit near the bottom of the lineup, where we’ll see him in the near future, rather than the top, where he spent much of this month battling with Oswald Peraza.
Washington counters with veteran Trevor Williams to the mound with a chance to be a leading elder in their scrappy rotation after pitching quite successfully (3.31 ERA in 89 IP) in a swingman role for the Mets last year.
This will only be Nestor Cortes’s third outing of the spring due a hamstring injury suffered last month, but thanks to having been ramped up earlier than usual in anticipation of pitching in the World Baseball Classic, he’ll be on track to start the Yankees’ fourth game of the season next Monday with a normal-ish workload. Cortes was inconsistent in his first start of the month, looking much like his 2021-22 self at times but allowing multiple home runs due to spotty command. He looked in All-Star form his second time out five days ago, however, holding St. Louis to just two hits alongside seven punchouts in an even four innings of work. Look for him to reach and sit in his usual low-90s velocity band, and critically, to successfully locate his cutter to the glove-side corner of the plate without letting it leak over the middle.
Just nine more innings until the games really count! Let’s play ball!
How to watch:
Location: Nationals Park — Washington, D.C.
First Pitch: 12:05 PM ET
TV Broadcast: MASN (Washington)
Radio Broadcast: WFAN 660 AM/101.9 FM, WADO 1280 AM
Online Stream: MLB.tv
For updates, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.
One more stop before the Bronx pic.twitter.com/MEb3shptGa— New York Yankees (@Yankees) March 28, 2023
One more at Nats Park until it counts.#NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/N8qkuPNuhh— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 28, 2023