The hits just keep on coming for the Yankees. Starter Nestor Cortes spent all of June and July on the 60-day IL with a left rotator cuff strain, but looked sharp in his abbreviated return to the rotation on August 5th while firing four innings of one-run ball against the Astros. He was supposed to start again this weekend in Miami, not far from where he grew up. That will not come to pass.
The Yankees just announced that Cortes would head back to the shelf with the very same injury. He will not throw again for a month, putting the rest of his season in jeopardy. Randy Vásquez was expected to be recalled for tonight’s start regardless, but Jhony Brito will join him on the roster due to Nestor’s woes.
Prior to tonight’s game, the Yankees made the following roster moves:— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) August 11, 2023
•Recalled RHP Jhony Brito (#76) and RHP Randy Vásquez (#98) from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
•Placed LHP Nestor Cortes on the 15-day injured list (retroactive to 8/8) with a left rotator cuff strain.
The energy around this team is pretty bleak, and just when it seemed like one small thing would go right for them in Nestor’s return, it’s all a mess once again.
As far as tonight goes, the Yankees will turn to the rookie Vásquez to help patch up their decimated rotation. Like on Wednesday in Chicago, Ian Hamilton will get the start as the opener, but Vásquez is expected to be the “bulk guy” behind the righty reliever. New York had already sent down southpaw Nick Ramírez on Thursday to make room. (Check out Matt’s full series preview here.)
Vásquez is 1-1 with a brilliant 1.17 ERA in 15.1 innings this season, which have come in three starts. He has surrendered 7 walks but has 10 strikeouts to his name at the MLB level so far.
Vásquez’s last game in the majors came on July 5th, when he held the Baltimore Orioles scoreless through five frames. That day, he gave up three walks and struck out one. The right-hander has made 16 starts for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the Yanks’ Triple-A affiliate. There, he accumulates a 4.76 ERA in 75.2 frames, with a 40/91 BB/K ratio.
Even before Cortes’ latest setback, the Yankees rotation was already in shambles. Carlos Rodón hit the injured list again himself with a hamstring strain, and Frankie Montas remains a complete nonfactor. Domingo Germán won’t be an option for the rest of the season as he deals with his own personal demons and Luis Severino has been one of the worst pitchers in baseball with an 8.06 ERA.
In other words, the Yankees desperately need someone who can step up and be a reliable option behind AL Cy Young candidate Gerrit Cole and former first-round pick Clarke Schmidt. Vásquez could also be on track to start Wednesday in Atlanta. Brito is also in the mix with Cortes out of the picture.
Offensive and depth issues have affected the team all year long, but the lack of quality starters has been the most notorious issue in recent games in light of the mentioned obstacles (injuries and ineffectiveness).