Bad Break for Yankees: Place Key Starter On IL

If anyone had told a New York Yankees fan at the beginning of the season that starting pitcher Nestor Cortes would be irreplaceable for them this season, it might have gotten a playful chuckle. As it turns out, Cortes has simply been the Yanks' most consistent starter all year. 

Now, they will be without their true staff ace for at least 15 days. 

It's a groin injury for the lefty, and the team is "hopeful" he'll return in September without a long IL stint. 

Cortes has been a revelation—and an All-Star—this season for the Yankees, posting a 2.68 ERA, a 0.96 WHIP, and an incredible 133:30 K/BB ratio. He's 8th among all starting pitchers with a 3.4 WAR.

It appears that Clarke Schmidt is in line to join the rotation, at least temporarily. The 26-year-old righty has a 2.18 ERA in 33 innings this season, almost predominantly out of the bullpen. He recently made three starts in the minors to get stretched out.

The rotation depth has taken a big hit, with Luis Severino also out (against his will) until mid-September. 

Perhaps GM Brian Cashman is second-guessing that Jordan Montgomery trade just a bit more at this point (he of the 4-0, 0.35 mark with the St. Louis Cardinals). 

Photos: Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports, Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports