SEE IT: Yankees’ Nestor Cortes responds to quick pitch violation as only he can
The 2023 MLB season comes with a slew of rule changes, and pitchers and hitters will have to adjust.
While fans may have become accustomed to the pitch clock and the banning of the shift, some players still need some time to get used to all the rules, and that includes Yankees LHP Nestor Cortes.
Cortes burst onto the scene last season with his signature ‘stache and, sometimes, funky delivery en route to an All-Star selection. But Tuesday, in the Yankees’ final spring training game, Cortes took social media by storm with his response to a quick pitch violation.
Pitching against the Washington Nationals’ Jeimer Candelario, Cortes tried to get a pitch off early in the pitch clock -- around the eight-second mark. When he delivered the pitch, umpire Reed Basner called the pitch dead and awarded the hitter an automatic ball.
The reasoning was Basner felt Candelario was not given adequate time to become alert to the pitcher. In short, the pitcher and hitter did not have eye contact before Cortes threw his pitch.
Basner motioned to his eyes to inform Cortes why he called the pitch dead, but that’s not where this encounter ended. Cortes responded with his next pitch, giving an over-exaggerated, long delivery to home plate.
Candelario fouled off the pitch, and eventually grounded out, but Cortes can clearly be seen smiling as he caught the ball from his catcher.
While quick pitches are being cracked down on, the long delivery is allowed as long as the pitcher doesn’t exceed the one step forward and back motion with the lead foot.
For Cortes, as you can see above, he does not move his feet but rocks his body with his lead foot in the air.
While Cortes gets used to the new rules, the 28-year-old is looking to build on a career year where he went 12-4 with a 2.44 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP. In three starts this spring, Cortes has a 4.76 ERA, but he has been limited with a hamstring injury that pulled him from playing for Team USA in this year’s World Baseball Classic.
The Yankees open their season Thursday against the San Francisco Giants. Gerrit Cole is slated to pitch Opening Day with Cortes likely pitching Saturday.