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Joe Girardi says Luis Severino not a lock for Yankees’ rotation

New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino delivers

New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino delivers a pitch against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning of a baseball game at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, September 27, 2015. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

TAMPA, Fla. — The assumption has been that Luis Severino has a guaranteed spot in the Yankees’ rotation, but Joe Girardi said that isn’t necessarily the case.

“You have to see how he responds,” Girardi said Sunday. “He does not have a huge body of work. Your expectation is he’s going to be one of our starters from what we saw, but we’ve seen that not always translate that second year.”

Severino impressed after being called up last August, going 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 11 starts.

If he has a good spring training, there’s little question the 22-year-old will be in the rotation. In ticking off names of those who are all but assured spots, Girardi did not mention Severino or CC Sabathia, but Sabathia has never pitched out of the bullpen, so if healthy, he’s a virtual rotation lock.

“We have [Masahiro] Tanaka, who we expect to be one of our starters, you have Michael [Pineda], you expect to be one, you have Evo [Nathan Eovaldi], who you expect to be one,” Girardi said.

Severino is slated to start the Yankees’ exhibition opener Wednesday against the Tigers at Steinbrenner Field. Ivan Nova will start the following day against the Phillies at home and righthander Bryan Mitchell, competing for the long-man role, will start Friday against the Tigers in Lakeland.

Nova also is competing for a rotation job. If Sabathia, Tanaka, Severino, Pineda and Eovaldi remain healthy, though, Nova’s spot at the start of the season likely will be in the bullpen.


Massive outfield prospect Aaron Judge, who stands 6-7 and weighs 275 pounds, struck a liner off Nova during live batting practice Sunday. “It hit the glove first,” Nova said. “It didn’t hit me that hard.”

Third man up

Girardi said at the start of camp that second-base prospect Rob Refsnyder and new second baseman Starlin Castro will get some work at third base during spring training as the Yankees search for a backup for Chase Headley. Only Refsnyder has taken grounders there thus far. Girardi said the plan still is for Castro to do some work at third, but first he wants him to get comfortable with his new double-play partner, shortstop Didi Gregorius. “I think that’s important,” Girardi said.

Extra bases

Aroldis Chapman will throw his first live BP Monday morning . . . Tanaka, being brought along slowly after offseason surgery to remove a bone spur, threw a 61-pitch bullpen session, split into two sessions, on Sunday.

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