CHICAGO - Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild hasn't seen much of Luis Severino since spring training. But when the much-hyped pitching prospect makes his big-league debut against the Red Sox on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium, Rothschild doesn't think the occasion will be too big for the 21-year-old righthander.
"I don't get the feeling he'll get overwhelmed," Rothschild said Sunday. "I think this is something that he looks forward to."
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What tells Rothschild that Severino can handle what's coming his way?
"It's hard to tell on such a short sample,'' he said, "but there was a look to him [in spring training] and they tell me at Triple-A it's been the same, that he's competitive. I don't think he's going to back down, I don't think he's going to be intimidated by the situation, and that will allow his stuff to play. It's just a question of locating his pitches and being able to mix pitches."
Severino started the season with Double-A Trenton but earned a promotion to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he's been even better, going 7-0 with a 1.91 ERA in 11 starts. In his most recent start, he allowed one hit, walked none and struck out 10 in six shutout innings against Lehigh Valley on Wednesday. He held Triple-A opposition to a .184 batting average, posting a 0.93 WHIP.
Still, it took Michael Pineda's forearm strain and subsequent placement on the disabled list last week for Severino to be summoned.
"He's done everything in Triple-A you'd want him to do to get here," Rothschild said. "It's time to take a look and see what we have."
Severino made only two appearances in spring training, allowing six runs in 22/3 innings, and was in the first group of cuts. But for the Yankees, the experience, which began two weeks before the first game when pitchers and catchers reported, was about getting their top pitching prospect's feet wet and giving him a chance to meet his future big-league teammates.
"I think his competitive side came out in spring. You could see he wanted to put an effort into making the team," Rothschild said. "The pitches are obviously there, the arm strength, and he's got two other pitches to go with [his mid-to-high-90s fastball], so there's a lot there.''
General manager Brian Cashman said Friday that Severino's innings have been managed this season to the point that he will not be limited once he joins the big-league club.
Rothschild said his understanding is that as long as Severino performs, he's in the rotation to stay the rest of the season and that this call-up is not for only one or two starts.
"Not that I know of," Rothschild said. "I'm not looking at it that way."