Not so fast: Yankees lefty Nestor Cortes called for illegal quick pitch against White Sox

NEW YORK (AP) — Every now and then, New York Yankees left-hander Nestor Cortes looks to catch a hitter off guard with a funky delivery.

Sometimes he hesitates on the rubber in the middle of his windup and turns his back to the batter like a corkscrew — maybe even faking a throw — before finally firing home. Other times, he starts all of a sudden with an old-fashioned quick pitch to the plate.

Cortes' creativity often delights the Yankee Stadium crowd, especially if it throws off a hitter's timing and earns an easy out.

But on this night, it could have cost him.

With two outs and nobody on base in the sixth inning Friday, a cruising Cortes corkscrewed himself into a hesitation delivery and fired way too high to Corey Julks of the Chicago White Sox.

A moment later, Cortes rapidly shuffled his feet and threw a quick pitch that Julks swung at and missed.

Nope, nice try, said plate umpire Laz Diaz. The crew chief jumped out from behind catcher Austin Wells and called Cortes for a violation that added an automatic ball to the count, making it 2-2.

Cortes and New York manager Aaron Boone both argued with Diaz, to no avail.

“He called an illegal pitch. I don’t think it was,” Boone said. "Nestor was set and initially he told me he stepped off with his left foot first, which clearly did not happen. He stepped off right. He just sped up his windup. I've got to look into it, but my first reaction is it’s not an illegal pitch.”

In the end, all the hubbub didn't matter much. Cortes struck out Julks with a full-count changeup, and the Yankees held on for a 4-2 victory.

“I’m not going to get into it," Cortes said afterward. "It just happened. I guess it was an illegal pitch and that’s all I’m going to say.”


AP freelance writer Larry Fleisher contributed to this report.



Mike Fitzpatrick, The Associated Press