New York — Yankees left-hander Nestor Cortes says Minnesota Twins broadcaster and Zeeland native Jim Kaat reached out and apologized after referring to New York’s breakout pitching star as “Nestor the Molester” during a broadcast Thursday night against the Detroit Tigers.
“Jim Kaat has spent an entire lifetime in this game we love,” Cortes tweeted Friday. “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!”
Kaat was explaining that Cortes had become one of his favorite pitchers during the telecast of a game between Minnesota and Detroit when he used the offensive nickname.
“‘Nestor the Molester,’ Nestor Cortes,” the 83-year-old Hall of Famer said. “Angles and different speeds. He’s a pitcher.”
Twins vice president of communications and content Dustin Morse spoke with Kaat after the broadcast about the comment.
“Obviously, we take these matters seriously and like in all cases will handle this internally and privately,” Morse said.
“Jim meant no ill will,” he added.
Cortes told The Associated Press late Thurdsay that Kaat’s comment “didn’t offend me at all” and “he didn’t really mean it.”
Cortes has affectionately become known as “Nasty Nestor” by Yankees fans while going 5-1 with a 1.50 ERA to begin this season. He pitched seven scoreless innings to beat the Angels in the first game.
Kaat, a longtime commentator who has also worked for the Yankees and MLB Network, 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.”