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Just as Yankees were getting healthy again, Nestor Cortes heads to IL with groin injury

OAKLAND — Just when the Yankees are about to get a big piece back, they lose another. On the day Giancarlo Stanton came off the injured list and was back in the lineup for the Yankees’ series-opener against the A’s, Nestor Cortes was put on the injured list with what he says is a Grade Two strain of his left groin.

“We’ll see,” Cortes said when asked about how long he will need to get back. “I’m progressing pretty well. Now, I just played catch, I ran some sprints. . . I don’t know, I’ve never had this injury before. So I don’t know how long it will take but I’m hoping the way I’m feeling today is maybe like another 15 days will be exactly what I need.”

The Yankees need pitching as they start this 10-game road trip with four games against the A’s here at the Coliseum. They will start Clarke Schmidt in Cortes’ spot on Sunday and he will remain part of the rotation while the lefty rehabs. They brought up Greg Weissert from Triple-A Scranton to take Cortes’ spot in the bullpen.

Cortes said he felt the groin issue very early in his start Sunday against the Blue Jays.

“I’m not 100% sure if it was the second pitch or third pitch of the game but I felt it and I didn’t know how serious it was,” Cortes said. “Around the third inning I wrapped it up just because I felt some discomfort. And I was able to get six innings.”

The 27-year old said he was limping when he woke up Monday and the Yankees sent him for an MRI.

“The MRI showed the strain. So hopefully it’s not something that costs him more than a couple starts and hopefully maybe something that serves him well and gives his body a little break,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He’s up and moving already. I actually threw with him out here. He was doing agility drills. So, he’s hitting the ground already in the rehab process. So hopefully it’s not something that costs him too much time.”

The Yankees can’t afford that.

Cortes has been the Yankees most reliable pitcher this season. He has posted a 2.68 ERA and has a strong strikeout rate (25.9%) and walk rate (5.8%).

“He’s been one of the best pitchers in the American League all year, he’s been incredibly reliable and consistent for us,” Boone said.

The Yankees had already been worried about his workload.

Cortes had thrown a career-high 131 innings, which was around the maximum number of innings the lefty said he had thrown in a year between spring training and pitching in winter ball.

The Yankees pitching depth is really being challenged right now. Luis Severino is on the 60-day IL with what the Yankees said was a “minor” lat strain. Severino, who only pitched 27 innings over the previous three years, has said he feels great. The Yankees had been managing his innings before he went on the IL with 86 innings pitched. He has been quoted as saying he could have been back by now if he had not been put on the 60-day IL.

The Yankees placed him on the IL on the trade deadline day, allowing them to add Scott Effross, Lou Trivino and Frankie Montas to the 40-man roster. That was also when the Yankees traded away proven big league starter Jordan Montgomery, as well as most of their high-level pitching prospects. They will face one of the best on Friday in lefty JP Sears.

While he understands the strain it puts on the pitching staff, Cortes said they have to look at the big picture

“I gotta kind of take care of my body, so I can be one of the guys when the playoffs time comes around,” Cortes said. “So I might have pushed through it but it could have gotten worse. And that’s the last thing we need to happen.”


Weissert had an inkling he might get the call to the big leagues on Tuesday night when he got pulled early from an outing. He got the news in front of his Triple-A teammates on Tuesday night and the Long Island native and his family dropped everything to fly across the country.

An 18th-round pick out of Fordham University in the 2016 draft, Weissert pitched to a 1.76 ERA with 67 strikeouts and 19 walks in 46 innings in Triple-A this season.

“I am definitely throwing more strikes this year, and just getting ahead of people just a little bit more consistently,” Weissert said. “And then just using my strengths and analytics has been a huge help, using my best pitches in tight situations and stuff like that. Just kind of honing in on all that stuff.”

Weissert has 18 saves in Triple-A this season, but he’s not necessarily going to get thrown right into the back end of the bullpen.

“He’s had a phenomenal year down there this year and it’s kind of been on the front of minds really going back even to spring training,” Boone said. “Obviously hasn’t been on the 40-man (roster) until now. But he’s kind of kicked his way in and we think he’s a guy that can, not only just fill a spot, but come up here and impact  us.”


Zack Britton came through his first rehab appearance and felt fine Thursday morning, Boone said. His next will be another very limited 15-pitch outing on Saturday. . . Clay Holmes said he’s expecting to be able to come off the IL when eligible on Monday. Boone said he will throw a live batting practice this weekend in Oakland. . . DJ LeMahieu had an unplanned day off on Thursday to manage the discomfort in his inflamed big right toe.


Source: Berkshire mont

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