Yanks’ Nestor Cortes to start Opening Day with Gerrit Cole out

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Nestor Cortes will get the ball to start the New York Yankees’ season, manager Aaron Boone said Friday.

The former All-Star left-hander will pitch New York’s season opener March 28 at the Houston Astros as Gerrit Cole is sidelined due to an elbow injury.

“Pretty amazing,” Cortes said. “It’s a little surreal for me. … I’d always been up and down early in my career and at best be the fifth starter. I was able to get an All-Star (appearance) under my belt. But this was far-fetched for me.

“Happy Aaron Boone and the organization have the trust in me to go out there for the first game.”

Multiple reports Wednesday said that Cole, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, will not need Tommy John surgery on his sore right arm. He will not be ready for the start of the season and is expected to miss 10 to 12 weeks, per MLB.com and USA Today.

Cortes, 29, had a breakout season for the Yankees in 2022 when he went 12-4 with a 2.44 ERA, one shutout and 163 strikeouts to just 38 walks over 28 starts.

While battling a rotator cuff strain in 2023, he went 5-2 with a 4.97 ERA across 12 starts. In 104 career games (56 starts) across six seasons with the Baltimore Orioles (2018), Yankees (2019, 2021-23) and Seattle Mariners (2020), Cortes has a 24-11 record and a 3.82 ERA.