New York Daily News

Nestor bails on WBC due to hammy, can’t rule out late start to regular season


TAMPA, Fla. — Yankees lefthander Nestor Cortes will miss next month’s World Baseball Classic due to a strained right hamstring but hasn’t ruled out being ready for the start of the regular season.

Colorado left-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 fhe 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 low grade two strain and there is no timeframe. He will not pitch for at least a couple 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 went 12-4 with a 2.44 ERA in 28 starts during an AllStar season last year.

“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 fron Aug. 21 to Sept, 8, and pulled from Game 4 of the American League Championsh­ip Series against the Houston Astros last year because 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.

Notes: DJ LeMahieu went through a pre-spring training work without OF Aaron Judge and SS Gleyber Torres. LeMahieu missed the 2022 postseason with a toe injury.

 ?? AP ?? Nestor Cortes won’t pitch for a couple of weeks but remains hopeful he can start the season in the Yankee rotation.
AP Nestor Cortes won’t pitch for a couple of weeks but remains hopeful he can start the season in the Yankee rotation.

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