Yankees’ Nestor Cortes to play for Team USA in World Baseball Classic
Nestor Cortes’ emergence as one of the better pitchers in baseball has landed him a spot among USA’s best.
The Yankees left-hander will represent Team USA in next spring’s World Baseball Classic, MLB announced Tuesday on Twitter.
Cortes joins a rotation that only has two other commitments in Cardinals veteran right-hander Adam Wainwright, who was also announced Tuesday, and Diamondbacks right-hander Merrill Kelly. Mets first baseman Pete Alonso is also committed to the roster along with stars Mookie Betts, Mike Trout, Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado.
The 2023 WBC will begin pool play March 8 and hold its championship on March 21, meaning Cortes will have to leave spring training for an undetermined period of time. Pitching in the tournament could also add extra innings to Cortes’ workload.
The 27-year-old Cortes threw a career-high 158 ¹/₃ innings this season while posting a 2.44 ERA and being named an American League All-Star. The former 36th-round pick of the Yankees finished eighth in AL Cy Young award voting, receiving three fifth-place votes.
Cortes’ last start of the year was cut short, when he left Game 4 of the ALCS with an aggravation of the groin strain that he had suffered earlier in the season.
The Hialeah, Fla., product was born in Cuba (before moving to the States when he was 7 months old), but the Baseball Federation of Cuba does not include players who defected from the country in its player pool for national team rosters.