Yankees LHP Nestor Cortes to miss WBC with hamstring injury

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Monday, February 13, 2023

TAMPA, Fla, --New York Yankees left-hander Nestor Cortes will miss next month's World Baseball Classic because of a strained right hamstring but hasn't ruled out being ready for the start of the regular season.

Colorado Rockiesleft-hander Kyle Freeland replaced Cortes on the United States roster.

"Came in on Wednesday and told the staff I was a little banged up," Cortes said Monday at the Yankees' minor league complex. "After long talks, obviously, the best interest was to stay out of it. The biggest goal right here is to get healthy and be ready for the start of the season. I think it's something that's definitely doable to start the season off healthy and in the rotation."

Cortes said the injury is a low-Grade 2 strain and there is no time frame. He will not pitch for at least a couple of weeks.

Cortes first felt a tweak a week ago while running sprints at home.

"Didn't think of it much," Cortes said. "I thought it was just a cramp. Later that night, went to put on a shoe and kind of felt a little pull there. Once I showed up here, it was a little bruised. We're taking it day by day. We're seeing how I progress."

Cortes, who went 12-4 with a 2.44 ERA in 28 starts during an All-Star season last year, had been set to pitch for the United States in the WBC.

"I was very excited for it," Cortes said. "Wanted to represent Team USA, a country that gave me a lot of opportunities to do a lot of the stuff I'm doing today, Very disappointed and obviously very sad I can't participate."

Cortes was sidelined from Aug. 21 to Sept. 8, 2022, and pulled from Game 4 of the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astrosbecause of groin injuries.

"Took care of it all offseason," Cortes said. "Was down in Miami rehabbing it throughout the whole offseason. It feels great. No soreness."

Another Yankees starter, Frankie Montas, could miss the start of the season with right shoulder inflammation.

Obtained from the Oakland Athletics in a trade-deadline deal last season, the right-hander was slowed by the same issue. He went 1-3 with a 6.35 ERA over eight starts with New York.

Game notes

DJ LeMahieu went through a pre-spring training work with OF Aaron Judge and SS Gleyber Torres. LeMahieu missed the 2022 postseason with a toe injury.