MIAMI — Nestor Cortes, who made one start after a lengthy stay on the injured list with a left rotator cuff strain, aggravated the injury and likely is done for the season.
“It’ll probably be tough [for him to return] with that kind of timeline,” Aaron Boone said before the Yankees opened a three-game series against the Marlins on Friday night at loanDepot park.
The timeline calls for Cortes to not throw for three to four weeks, making a return unlikely.
“There’s always that scare, that thought,” Cortes said of possibly having thrown his last pitch in 2023. “We’re going to take it day by day.”
Cortes, who was on the IL from June 5-Aug. 5, made his return last Saturday against the Astros and looked terrific. Though not completely built up, he struck out eight and allowed one run and one hit in four innings, throwing 64 pitches.
However, he did not feel great afterward and was unable to throw a bullpen session on Thursday. Cortes had an MRI that night that revealed the strain.
“Same injury,” said Cortes, who is 5-2 with a 4.97 ERA in 12 starts this season. “Feeling it in a different spot, but it’s a little bit more pronounced than the first time.”
Cortes made two rehab starts before being activated and said he felt “really good” going into the start against the Astros.
“Everything leading up to that Houston game, my body felt great, my arm felt great,” Cortes said. “There was no setbacks or anything that I felt in my arm to say, hey, I can’t go and we should retest or something.”
The timing is less than ideal for the Yankees, who entered Friday five games behind the Blue Jays for the final American League wild card.
Their rotation, other than Gerrit Cole and Clarke Schmidt, already was a mess. Carlos Rodon is back on the IL with a hamstring strain. Domingo German is on the restricted list to receive treatment for alcohol abuse. Luis Severino has a 17.36 ERA in his last three outings — with 20 hits and six walks allowed in 9 1⁄3 innings — and is 2-7 with an 8.06 ERA overall.
“That’s definitely tough,” Cortes said. “If we’re going to make a run at it, we’re going to need everybody healthy, not only myself but Rodon and all the other pitchers.”
From a personal standpoint, the news was tough for Cortes, who is from Miami and had never pitched in his hometown while in the big leagues. Cortes estimated that he had approximately 30 people scheduled to attend his start on Saturday.
“I was really looking forward to pitching here, too, for the first time,” he said. “It’s tough. It’s tough to swallow this right now.”
Anthony Rizzo, placed on the injured list with post-concussion syndrome on Aug. 3, did not paint an overly optimistic picture for a quick return.
“It’s just kind of week by week, day by day,” he said. “Just keeping my body moving, hopefully pick up more activity baseball-wise in the next week, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.”
The injury traces back to May 28. The Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. was attempting to get back to first base on a pickoff attempt when his right leg collided with Rizzo’s head.
“Theoretically I guess I was playing on this for two months, so if I think it’s going to go away in a week, that’s wishful thinking,” said Rizzo, who was cleared to fly by doctors. “But there’s definitely signs of progress.”
What are those signs?
“Whatever I deem them to be, I guess,” said Rizzo, who missed the next three games with neck soreness after the collision, then hit .172 with a homer and a .496 OPS in 46 games before going on the IL. “The test results were signs of progress. That was encouraging.”