MLB Deems Yankees Pitcher Nestor Cortes' 'Pump Fake' Pitch Illegal

MLB bans Yankees pitcher Nestor Cortes' unique "pump fake" pitch, highlighting the league's efforts to maintain fairness, while the pitcher vows to rely on his other deceptive techniques.

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Salman Khan
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MLB Deems Yankees Pitcher Nestor Cortes' 'Pump Fake' Pitch Illegal

MLB Deems Yankees Pitcher Nestor Cortes' 'Pump Fake' Pitch Illegal

On April 14, 2024, Major League Baseball informed New York Yankees pitcher Nestor Cortes that his 'pump fake, pitch' to Cleveland Guardians' Andrés Giménez is illegal, despite Cortes pitching seven scoreless innings with nine strikeouts in a 2-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on April 21, 2024. Cortes is known for his deceptive leg kicks and windups, and he added the 'pump fake, pitch' to his repertoire, where he feigned a throw by waving his left arm at Giménez and then raised his knee before delivering the pitch.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said the move was "pretty funny" but that Cortes can no longer use the 'pump fake' as it would result in an automatic ball. Boone called MLB's senior vice president of on-field operations to inquire about the ruling. Cortes acknowledged that he would not use the move again, as MLB has ruled it illegal. "I cannot mislead the hitter in terms of what I am trying to do," Cortes said.

Cortes had added the 'pump fake' move to his repertoire, but umpire Mark Carlson did not say anything to Cortes following the pitch to Giménez, who ended up fouling it off. However, going forward, the move would be ruled a ball. Cortes claimed that he is "the only one who has done this move and the only one who will ever do it, and that he is in the record books."

Why this matters: The ruling on Cortes' unique pitching motion highlights MLB's ongoing efforts to enforce rules and maintain a level playing field for all players. It also ignites discussions about the boundaries of creativity and deception in pitching techniques.

Despite the setback, Cortes remains a key part of the Yankees' pitching rotation. He is currently 1-1 with a 3.41 ERA in five starts so far this season. As Boone told, the 'pump fake' move was part of what made Cortes unique, but the pitcher will now have to rely on his other deceptive leg kicks and windups to keep hitters off balance.

Key Takeaways

  • MLB ruled Nestor Cortes' 'pump fake' pitch illegal despite his success.
  • Cortes added the 'pump fake' to his repertoire, but can no longer use it.
  • Yankees manager Boone called MLB to inquire about the ruling on the move.
  • Cortes acknowledged he will not use the 'pump fake' again as it is illegal.
  • The ruling highlights MLB's efforts to enforce rules and maintain a level playing field.