Nestor Cortes of the New York Yankees poses for a photo during the All-Star Red Carpet Show (Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
PLAYERS & TEAM EARNINGS

Nestor Cortes Wants to Strike Out Shohei Ohtani

Nestor Cortes didn’t take the traditional route to stardom, but he found his way to the 2022 All-Star Game nevertheless. Here’s what the Yankees revelation had to say on the red carpet.

Taken by the New York Yankees in the 36th round of the 2013 draft, Nestor Cortes was a long-shot to even sniff the Major Leagues. He was left unprotected in the 2017 Rule 5 Draft and taken by the Baltimore Orioles, only to be sold back to New York after pitching four games. The Yanks traded him again in 2019 to Seattle, only for him to be let go again after the 2020 season. The Cuban-born hurler returned to New York for the 2021 season and has been a staple in the Bronx ever since. He pitched to a 2.90 ERA in 93 innings last season and was named an MLB All-Star in 2022 with a 2.53 ERA in 106 2/3 innings to date.

The 27-year-old known as Nasty Nestor rocked a floral-patterned tan suit from Gentleman’s Playbook on the All-Star red carpet in Los Angeles. He also sported a chain from longtime friend Lazaro Acosta and NYC Jewelry in New York hooked him up with his iced-out watch. The inside lining of Cortes’s jacket showed off the Cuban flag and his number 65, representative of where he’s from. He spoke to Boardroom about his long road to stardom, his business pursuits, and his favorite athletes to watch outside baseball.

What work did you have to put in to have the success you’ve experienced this season?

I took a lot of hits, but got right back up. I think that’s the competitor in me. I failed a few times, had to see what was working, and I finally made it.

Who do you credit in helping you succeed in the way you have?

There are so many people I can name right now off the top of my head. Obviously my parents are the first ones. They always kept me at a standard, but so many coaches, so many guys through the minor league system that have helped me be here today.

The Yankees have been dominant for much of this season. How do you feel when you’re on the mound and the offense just goes off like it has so many times?

It feels great. It gives us pitchers a little bit of breathing room and we’re able to make mistakes if we do. But it’s fun to be around those guys and see the work they put in.

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What’s your favorite road city?

Miami

What would you do if you weren’t a baseball player?

Probably school, doing something for myself and my family.

Which player would you most like to strike out?

I haven’t struck him out yet, but I would like to strike out Shohei Ohtani. Obviously he’s one of the best to do this. Everybody loves him and I think it would be cool to have that success.

How hard is it to do what he’s doing?

It’s immensely hard. I think as a pitcher every five days, imagine if I had to hit in between? So it’s very, very cool what he’s doing.

If you were MLB commissioner for a day, what’s the first thing you’d change?

More off days [laughs].

Who’s your favorite athlete to watch in another sport?

Obviously, LeBron James and Tiger Woods. I think they’ve done it for a long time. It shows what kinds of athletes they are.

What’s the best investment you made over the last year?

Real estate. I’ve got a couple of houses down in Miami. My parents help me out with that and it’s something I’d like to expand on in the future.

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