Luis Severino went on the injured list Thursday afternoon with a right lat strain. The Yankees right hander had left Wednesday night’s game after just two innings complaining of “tightness,” in his right shoulder. It turns out to be the same injury that sidelined him for most of the 2019 season.
Aaron Boone said that he is “optimistic,” about Severino’s return, but that it is likely that Severino will miss some starts, which means this will continue for a couple weeks. With the All-Star break starting on Sunday, Severino would not have likely started until next weekend.
The Yankees labeled this as “low grade,” and Severino said that he just felt a little sore on Thursday and was hopeful he would not be sidelined that long.
After the Yankees 7-6, 10-inning loss to the Reds at the Stadium Thursday night, Boone said the Yankees did not have a timetable for Severino’s return.
“My concerns are the same. Yesterday coming out with the game I knew something was not feeling right,” Severino said. “Waking up that day did not feel normal. So, why push it or push it now. So there’s a couple days off and hopefully I’ll be good.”
Severino missed all but September and October of 2019 dealing with the lat strain in 2019. Then he returned only to tear his ulnar collateral ligament, requiring him to have Tommy John surgery in March of 2020.
As a result of all that time rehabbing, Severino has said he knows his body well and how it should feel. Wednesday, he knew he wasn’t quite right and told the trainers that he was tight when he arrived at the ballpark. That, however, is not unusual.
“You’re not gonna feel 100% when you come here, something’s gonna bother you,” Severino said, “but usually when you feel like that you go to the hot tub and and go through the warmups and everything goes away.”
The Yankees were already expecting to have to go without Severino for some stretches of the second half. As a result of his injuries, Severino had thrown just 27.2 innings over the last three years, so the Bombers were very cautious of his workload this season. They had pushed him back several times in the first half and gave him extra days rest. Still, Severino made 16 starts in the first half and had thrown 86 innings.
They had talked about needing pitching depth from the beginning of the season in part because they wanted to make sure they kept Severino from overwork and also because Nestor Cortes, who started Thursday night’s series finale, had never pitched more than 93 innings in the big leagues and would also have his workload managed.
Now, the Yankees have to figure out if they have enough to take advantage of this great start to the season and capitalize on it in the playoffs. With two weeks before the trade deadline, the the Bombers have time to fortify their stockpile.
Or they can gamble that they have enough in house.
The Yankees felt they were deep in pitching at the start of the season when they had Luis Gil, who had been brilliant in his debut last season, Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt and JP Sears in spring training. Since then, their depth has been thinned out. Gil was lost to Tommy John surgery in May. Sears has been in the Yankees bullpen, giving them 3.1 innings Wednesday night before being optioned back to Triple-A to give the Yankees a fresh arm in the bullpen. Garcia has not been able to figure it out in Triple-A and has dropped off the Yankees radar. Schmidt has been up in the big leagues and down this season, but most recently he’s been starting in Triple-A and seems ready to step in if the Yankees need another starter. They also have been very impressed with Ken Waldichuk, the lefty in Triple-A who will play in Sunday’s Future Game. Though not on the 40-man roster, there were some in the organization who predicted he would play a part in this big league season as far back as February.
The Yankees also have Domingo German close to returning. The right hander is scheduled to make another minor league rehab start Friday with Triple-A Scranton, but he will likely come off the injured list after the All-Star break. After beginning the season with right shoulder “Impingement syndrome,” the Yankees built him up to be a multiple-inning reliever or a spot starter.