Yankees lefty Nestor Cortes, who went 12–4 with a 2.44 ERA in 28 starts last season for the team, is working his way back from a grade 2 hamstring strain (Photo credit: DR. Buddie (https://commons.wikimedia. org/wiki/File:Nestor_Cortes_Jr.jpg), https://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode)

Three weeks into spring training, the Mets and Yankees have already experienced injuries to key players. Back on February 13, Yankees starting pitcher Nestor Cortes Jr., who last season went 12–4 with a 2.44 ERA in 28 starts, pulled out of the World Baseball Classic, currently being held, because of a hamstring injury, which was later diagnosed as a grade 2 strain.
The lefty Cortes had recently begun to work his way back, throwing a three-inning simulated game. He said in an interview on the YES Network that his body and arm are feeling well and “I think I have prepared well enough so far this spring, hopefully, to get into live games here soon.”
While that is positive news for a Yankees team looking to redeem itself after getting swept 4–0 by the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series last October, the status of starter Frankie Montas wasn’t as optimistic. On February 22, Montas had right shoulder surgery that will keep him out at least until the second half of the regular season. 

The 29-year-old righty was acquired last August 1 in a trade with the Oakland A’s in exchange for pitchers JP Sears, Ken Waldichuk, and Luis Medina, along with infielder Copper Bowman. Last week, Montas gave an explanation for why he never spoke of the injury despite having discomfort upon his arrival in New York.
“I was trying to pitch through it,” he said. “I got traded to a new team and I wanted to show what I [could] do.” Yankees manager Aaron Boone had a simple view of the situation. “Obviously, he’s a pitcher and he was dealing with a shoulder injury before the trade, but these things happen.”
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman defended the trade. “Montas came to us with a clean bill of health, but he obviously wasn’t healthy. Ultimately, it’s part of the business, but it happens.” 

These are just a few problems from the suddenly growing list of injuries for the pinstripes. Along with Montas, reliever Tommy Kahnle (right biceps tendon) and prized free agent pickup, left-handed starter Carlos Rodon (left forearm strain) will be on the injured list to begin the season.
These injuries affirm why it is critically important for teams to have pitching depth and the Yankees’ will be tested. 

As for the Mets, starting pitcher Jose Quintana, whom they signed to a two-year, $26 million free-agent contract this past December, will undergo bone graft surgery to repair a stress fracture in his rib. The 34-year-old lefty is expected to be out until July or longer. He was also diagnosed with a benign lesion on his rib.

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