Once an All-Star, forever an All-Star.
That status change is a medal that a ballplayer carries around with pride until they die, and even beyond.
“‘All-Star pitcher, for the rest of your life.’ Anthony Rizzo let Nestor Cortes know that his All-Star status is forever,” ESPN tweeted.
"All-Star pitcher, for the rest of your life."
Anthony Rizzo let Nestor Cortes know that his All-Star status is forever 🥺 pic.twitter.com/FPRDBnBJPw
— ESPN (@espn) July 11, 2022
It’s part of an exchange the two teammates had.
Rizzo is actually representing most Yankees fans: they are proud of his progress and how he changed his career after so many mediocre years.
Cortes Turned Around His Career
Cortes has been designated for assignment, left unprotected for the Rule 5 Draft, and released several times in his career.
Yet, with the help of Yankees’ director of pitching Sam Briend and pitching coach Matt Blake, Cortes turned around his career in impressive fashion since the start of last year.
In 93 innings, he compiled a 2.90 ERA last season.
Most fans, analysts, and specialists didn’t think he could repeat his performance in 2022, but he has achieved that and then some: he currently has a 2.74 ERA in 88.2 frames, which is why he is an All-Star.
Yes, he hasn’t been able to keep up the form that made him almost untouchable to start the year in recent outings – 4.29 ERA in his last seven starts – but he was never going to be a sub-2.00 ERA pitcher: few hurlers are.
What is he?
A reliable, dependable pitcher capable of taking the ball every five days and pitching six frames while allowing a couple of runs, and nothing more, most nights.
He has overhauled his delivery, refined his command, and maximized his middling fastball to turn into an ace.
What a career turnaround.