Seattle Mariners: Nestor Cortes Jr is looking for a new beginning

After a relatively successful stint with the New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners pitcher Nestor Cortes Jr. is ready for a new start.

HIALEAH, FL – Seattle Mariners pitcher Nestor Cortes  Jr. was born in Batabano, Cuba but was raised in a section of Miami-Dade county named Hialeah.

This city is known for two things – its dense Cuban population and its baseball. This is the same part of the county that has produced the likes of Manny Machado, Gio Gonzalez, and Alex Avila.

The crafty lefty starred at Hialeah Highschool and was later drafted by the New York Yankees in the 36th round of the 2013 draft.

Getting seasoning in the minors

Between 2013 and 2017 Cortes compiled a record of 30-20 and posted an ERA of 2.61 this all led up to him being selected in the Rule 5 draft by the Orioles.

The team pictured Cortés as a spot starter and a long reliever,  but it wasn’t to be.

Although he made the opening day roster, yet only pitched four games with the club and posted a 7.71 earned run average. He was designated for assignment during the season and returned to the Yankees.

Even though he wasn’t successful in Baltimore he learned a lesson that would stay with him for years to come, “I learned in 2018 that command is key in the big leagues and that you can’t make a mistake when you are behind in the count. Also, first-pitch strikes are key.”

A Dominican League Title

In the winter of 2018 Cortes signed to play with the Oriental Stars of the Dominican Winter League and was dominant en route to leading the team to a DOWL title, the team’s first championship in more half a decade.

The lefty not only won two games during the season but was second in the circuit with an ERA of 1.71, he was also second in the league in WHIP (0.86).

The pitcher ended up being the ace of the Dominican team and even started the first game of the Caribbean World Series in Panamá. That day against the Puerto Rican representative the Santurce Crabbers.  Cortés threw five masterful innings in which he only allowed one hit, one earned runs and struck out four that day. He was also the winning pitcher that day in a Dominican victory by the count of 3-1.

“The plan against Puerto Rico was to attack the strike zone. It had been two weeks since my last outing, but I think due to my exceptional command that day my team was able to come out victorious. ”

Returning to the Majors

In 2019 he was invited to Spring Training with the Yankees but ended being optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The pitcher was called up on June 15 of that year.

He stayed the rest of the season with the big club and won five games primarily as a long reliever, but his ERA of 5.67 in 33 games was a bit high. At season’s end, he was traded to Seattle Mariners after being designated for assignment by the Bronx bombers.

Cortes who is on the 25 man roster figures to be a situational lefty or long reliever in the M’s bullpen and might even get a spot start from time to time.

Next: Derrek Lee easily Marlins all-time best 1B

“I will prepare myself to be ready for whatever and whenever the ball club needs me. I’m working to better myself every day and give 200%.”

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