He may have returned to start New York Yankees postseason games in 2019, but Luis Severino is still on the slow train back to full strength.
Sevy is progressing slower than his peers in the Yankees’ rotation. In fact, he has yet to toss live batting practice. But Bombers skipper Aaron Boone told the New York Post’s George A. King III that’s no cause for concern.
“I’m not exactly sure when his first [live BP] will be, but it’s on the horizon,’’ Boone told King. “We’re playing him a little bit slower, but he’s not much behind everyone else.’’
Clearly, the Yankees want to avoid a repeat of what happened with Severino last year. The hard-throwing righty’s 2019 spring rotator cuff inflammation led to a lat injury that extended his absence until September.
Mere weeks before Sevy’s initial injury, the Yankees inked him for $40 million over four years. Losing him for another season would essentially flush half of that investment down the toilet.
James Paxton’s untimely back surgery is another reason to be cautious with Severino. Paxton won’t return until sometime in May at the earliest.
That means J.A. Happ and whoever wins the final rotation spot in spring will start two-fifths of the team’s games out of the gate. New York needs a healthy, dominant Severino to help Gerrit Cole and Masahiro Tanaka hedge against that unknown.
Also, this year Domingo German cannot come to the rescue if Sevy goes down. German picked up the slack for Severino in 2019 by going 18-4. Then, he engaged in domestic violence which earned him an 81-game suspension.
Severino is certainly the most important Yankees starter not named Cole. He can take all the time he needs, as long as he’s ready to start the second game of the season.