Yanks turn to Nasty Nestor on short rest for postponed G5

October 18th, 2022

NEW YORK -- The Yankees have announced that they will hand the ball to Nestor Cortes on Tuesday, tabbing the left-hander to start on short rest with their season on the line in the winner-take-all Game 5 of the American League Division Series vs. the Guardians.

Jameson Taillon had been in line to start Game 5 on Monday night, but the contest was washed out due to sustained inclement weather.

Now, Cortes will be on the mound when New York and Cleveland battle for the final time in this series. The winner earns the right to face the Astros in the AL Championship Series beginning Wednesday in Houston.

In the aftermath of Game 4, Cortes stood in a corner of the visiting clubhouse at Progressive Field and said that he hoped the Yankees would give him the ball at some point during Game 5, even though he would have only had two days of rest.

The rainout provided a third. Cortes has only started a game on three days of rest once in his big league career. On Sept. 10, 2019, he made a spot start against the Tigers in Detroit and allowed four runs (two earned) and six hits over 2 1/3 innings.

“I'm ready to go. I'm going to empty the tank,” Cortes said on Sunday. “If I have to come back on short rest, whether it's two or three days, I'm going to try and prepare in between the best I can to feel as best as I can.”

The 27-year-old Cortes, an All-Star this season, pitched in Game 2 at Yankee Stadium last Friday, taking a no-decision in New York’s 4-2 loss. Cortes held the Guardians to two runs and six hits in a 92-pitch effort, walking three and striking out three over five innings. He allowed a fifth-inning homer to Amed Rosario.

The Guardians announced that right-hander Aaron Civale would start Game 5 but right-hander Shane Bieber could be lurking in some form in relief. If Bieber were to pitch, he would also be doing so on three days of rest.

Monday’s rainout takes away the scheduled off-day ahead of the ALCS for whichever team advances to face the Astros in Game 1 on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET.

“The full intention and expectation was that we were playing the game tonight,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “Both teams wanted to play tonight. Unfortunately, weather took us down. It’s becoming more and more unpredictable, and for that, it’s a struggle. We certainly didn’t want fans sitting here all night. They wanted to be here to watch a game, and we certainly wanted to play a game.”