Yankees' Cortes learns pump fake pitch is actually illegal; pitches seven innings vs. Rays

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball has told Yankees pitcher Nelson Cortes that his pump fake pitch to Cleveland’s Andrés Giménez is against the rules.

Known for his deceiving leg kicks and windups, Cortes added another trick in his repertoire with a funky move to Giménez in the second inning last Sunday. He faked a throw by waving his left arm at Giménez, then raised a knee before finishing a pitch that Giménez fouled off.

“My thought was that doesn’t feel legal, but pretty funny, I think the guy fouled it off,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Saturday. “It would have been funnier it he punched him out. It’s just kind of one of the things he brings to the table that’s I think fun for the game and I think is part of what makes him unique and special -- but can’t do the pump fake anymore.”

Cortes would be charged with an automatic ball should he try the move again.

“I’m not going to do it but if I did do it, it probably would count as a ball,” Cortes said after the Yankees' 2-0 loss to Tampa Bay on Saturday. “I think the reasoning behind it was like he can’t deceive the hitter in terms of what we’re trying to do.”

Boone said he called Mike Hill, MLB's senior vice president of on-field operations, to inquire before MLB had a chance to call him.

“I’m not really 100% what they said,” Cortes said. “I know Boonie came up to me and said it was illegal.”

Cortes allowed six hits in seven scoreless innings Saturday as New York lost to the Rays 2-0. Cortes struck out nine, his most since fanning 12 on Oct. 1, 2022, against Baltimore. Cortes is 1-1 with a 3.41 ERA in five starts.



Larry Fleisher, The Associated Press