News Report: Nestor Cortes’ shoulder felt ‘best it’s ever been’ in another promising Yankees outing…

Nestor Cortes felt like himself again Sunday, and he looked like it too, tricks and all.


In one indication of how strong his shoulder was feeling, Cortes mixed a few hesitation deliveries and lower arm slots across four solid innings of work against the Tigers as he built his pitch count up to 54.

The Yankees left-hander then gave a verbal indication of his improved status.

“Best it’s ever been in a while,” Cortes said after giving up one hit (a solo home run), walking one and striking out three. “Just feeling like I was in a rhythm, everything was flowing. Gave up that bomb, but everything else was easygoing and throwing strikes and pounding the zone and was able to command pitches.”

For the first time this spring, coming off a season that was derailed by a pair of rotator cuff strains, Cortes mixed in some old tricks, too.

In the second inning, he swung his leg back toward center field before delivering a pitch that resulted in a flyout.

The next inning, he dropped his arm slot a few times, including on a sweeper that made Akil Baddoo fan at strike three well off the plate.

“Gleyber [Torres] was asking for it from the dugout,” Cortes said with a grin. “So that kind of led me to that. But yeah, once I started doing that and it starts feeling normal, then I feel like I’m in a good spot.”

Manager Aaron Boone said he thought Cortes had looked good all spring, after an offseason in which he transitioned most of his workouts and rehab to the Yankees’ player development complex, but liked seeing more of it as he continued his buildup of volume.

“His bounce-back’s been good in between [outings], so that’s been exciting,” Boone said. “Just gotta keep going with it.”

Cortes has echoed that sentiment a few times in camp, being cautiously optimistic as he increases his workload.

But three or four days after last Monday’s start, Cortes said he remembered feeling like it had been a week since he last pitched because of how good he felt.

The hardest part is going to be next time around, four innings-plus and then next time around five innings-plus,” he said. “The buildup and the workload is going to have to be managed, for sure, going into the season. But after today, I feel super confident that next time around it’s going to be great again, just because of how I felt and what I did last week with my recovery and staying on schedule.”

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