1648619133 Yankees push back Luis Severino after worrying about pain

Yankees push back Luis Severino after worrying about pain

TAMPA — If it were a different pitcher, maybe it wouldn’t be a big deal to push back one of your recent spring training starts because of what Aaron Boone called “soreness.”

But Luis Severino is not just another pitcher.

The Yankees lined him up as the No. 2 starter behind Gerrit Cole, and rather than starting Wednesday night against the Blue Jays in another regular-season vote, Severino is now expected to host a bullpen session.

Boone said the right-hander felt some pain after his most recent outing when he fought with his commando against the Phillies last Friday in Clearwater, Fla., and the manager acknowledged there were some “concerns” about the situation.

“He was a little sore coming out of his last, so we decided to push it back a little bit,” Boone said Tuesday after the Yankees beat the Phillies 14-2 at Steinbrenner Field.

At least part of the thought process involved the fact that the regular season is fast approaching and they want Severino to line up game two of the regular season on April 9th.

Luis SeverinoLuis Severino NY. Contribution: Karl Wenzelberg

You want him to rest regularly for this outing.

Still, the Yankees have to hope that scheduling is the only issue with Severino, who they count on him to get closer to the form he showed in 2017 and 2018 before Tommy John surgery and a history of shoulder problems caught up with him only 19 ¹/₃ innings limited three seasons.

When asked if the pain was related to the elbow or shoulder issues Severino has had in the past, Boone said, “We feel like it’s general and we’re cautious, but whenever I say that about a pitcher — especially about his stature and what he’s been through – it worries you a little.”

That’s just the final red flag for Severino, who conceded seven earned runs, walked five and batted just one of 3²/₃ innings in two Grapefruit League starts.

Luis SeverinoLuis Severino NY. Contribution: Karl Wenzelberg

While he showed some of his dominant stuff late last season when he finally returned to action, Severino’s command has not returned.

“Any time a guy comes out in spring training and doesn’t necessarily have the success that we want, it gives you a pause,” pitching coach Matt Blake said Monday in Lakeland, Fla. “I think the fact that the bike was there and the quality of the pitches were there [is good]but not the execution.”

Blake pointed out that Severino “gets used to the pace of the game, just gets the delivery under control and makes him repeat that a little more. If we had three or four more trips, you’d see it ironed out. But right now it’s like, ‘Okay, we’ve got seven to 10 days to get that right and then continue to build on that throughout the season.’ It will not be a finished product. It definitely gives you a break, but trust it [Severino] to do the work for us.”

For Severino, whose health problems began in April 2019 when he suffered from a rotator cuff infection, finding work has been a problem for quite some time. A lat strain ensued and the combination of injuries cost him most of the season.

He then underwent elbow surgery in February 2020, which was mooted that year, and his comeback last season was delayed by a tight groin in June and difficulty loosening up during a warm-up ahead of a rehab start in August.

Severino returned for four regular-season appearances and participated in wildcard play in Boston.

The Yankees rely on Severino to be a regular part of their rotation, even if they have to oversee his innings — although they have declined to impose an innings limit on him.

— Additional reporting by Greg Joyce