Cortes presents Kaat with Yanks award after ‘molester’ label

Jun 23, 2022, 4:23 AM | Updated: 4:24 pm
New York Yankees' Nestor Cortes pitches to the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball...

New York Yankees' Nestor Cortes pitches to the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 21, 2022, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

NEW YORK (AP) — Yankees pitcher Nestor Cortes presented broadcaster and Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Kaat with the franchise’s Lifetime Achievement Award on Thursday night, about three weeks after Kaat used an offensive nickname when talking about New York’s breakout left-hander.

The 83-year-old Kaat called the pitcher “Nestor the Molester” during a Minnesota Twins telecast this month, then reached out to Cortes to apologize. Cortes told The Associated Press later that night that he hadn’t taken offense and later tweeted to say he’d readily accepted Kaat’s apology.

“Jim Kaat has spent an entire lifetime in this game we love,” Cortes wrote. “He reached out to me and apologized for his remark last night, but he didn’t need to. We all make mistakes and feel 100% there was no malice intended. I plan on lifting him up with this tweet and I hope others do too. No sweat here Jim!”

Cortes presented Kaat with a clear trophy near home plate prior to New York’s opener of a four-game series against Houston. Kaat pitched for 25 seasons and was a longtime commentator who also worked for the Yankees.

Kaat was set to broadcast Thursday’s game with play-by-play man Bob Costas for MLB Network.

Kaat pitched 44 of his 898 games with the Yankees, going 2-4 with a 4.12 ERA.

He also made an apology after an on-air remark last October. That came after he said teams should try to “get a 40-acre field full of” players who look like White Sox infielder Yoán Moncada.

His comment about Moncada reminded some viewers of the unfilled promise by the U.S. government that freed slaves would receive 40 acres and a mule following the Civil War. He apologized later in that game between the Astros and White Sox.

“Earlier in the game when Yoán Moncada was at the plate, in an attempt to compliment the great player that he is, I used a poor choice of words that resulted in an insensitive and hurtful remark,” he said. “And I’m sorry for that.”

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Cortes presents Kaat with Yanks award after ‘molester’ label