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When will Nestor Cortes return to Yankees rotation this season?

We’ve got the latest updates for Nestor Cortes and when he’ll return in 2023.

Pitcher Nestor Cortes of the New York Yankees looks on during the fourth inning against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on May 30, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Just when it seemed like the New York Yankees rotation was finally rounding into form — with Luis Severino making his season debut and Carlos Rodon finally seeming to build some momentum in his rehab from a back injury — the team now finds itself with another hole to fill, at least for a brief time. News broke on Sunday that Nestor Cortes was likely to need a stint on the injured list due to shoulder soreness — here’s the latest on the lefty’s status and when he could return to New York’s starting staff.

Nestor Cortes injury update

July 5 Update: Cortes is on track to throw a live BP session this coming weekend. There is hope that if he doesn’t suffer any setbacks, he will be able to return a week or so after the All-Star break.

There didn’t seem to be any red flags around Cortes, who was coming off of five innings of two-hit ball against the Seattle Mariners on May 30. But, with his turn in the rotation looming in a couple of days, manager Aaron Boone told reporters on Sunday that the lefty had been experiencing shoulder discomfort and would need to miss at least a start or two while the team figured out what — if anything — was wrong.

Cortes told the media that he’d been feeling increasing soreness over the last few weeks, and that his shoulder wasn’t recovering in between starts in the way that he was used to. He finally said something after that outing in Seattle, at which point the team decided to shut him down. The lefty added that he wasn’t too concerned about it, but shoulder soreness is shoulder soreness, and the fact that he wasn’t able to complete his usual side sessions in between starts feels like a real red flag.

Cortes is set for an MRI on Monday or Tuesday, at which point the team will know more about whether there’s something structurally wrong or whether it’s just a matter of managing inflammation/fatigue. If the 28-year-old were forced to miss extended time, rookie Jhony Brito would be likely to reenter the rotation — at least until Rodon, who’s set to face live hitters for the first time this week, is ready to return.