HOUSTON — Luis Severino said he isn’t injured, was never injured and wanted to keep pitching when Yankees manager Joe Girardi took him out after four innings in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Astros in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park.
Girardi said he saw Severino make a windmill motion with his arm after throwing a pitch in the fourth. That made Girardi fearful that something was amiss with Severino’s shoulder, so he went to the mound with a Yankees trainer.
“He told me that he saw something,” Severino said. “I told him that I feel good . . . Maybe they were worried or something like that. But like I said, I felt great.”
Girardi allowed Severino to finish the inning but told the 23-year-old between innings that he was going to remove him from the game for his own good.
“We saw him throw that one changeup and then he kind of did this with his arm [windmill motion] and there was some concern on our parts there and that’s why I ran out and he reassured me that he was fine,” Girardi said. “Some of our staff thought that and some people that were watching thought that maybe he was pushing the ball a little bit. He wasn’t very happy I took him out.
“But I think it is my responsibility to protect this kid. He’s very young. He’s thrown more innings than he has thrown during the course of [a] season. He gave us a great effort, but we felt that, and I felt — it was me — that I couldn’t take a chance.”
The Yankees had Severino looked at by their doctors during the game, and they found nothing wrong. No tests are planned for Sunday.
“He says he’s fine,” Girardi said. “My concern, when a guy goes like this [windmill motion], I’m thinking shoulder. That’s my initial reaction. That’s why I ran out there. I didn’t see him go like this [flexing elbow motion]. Then I would think elbow. But again, being as many innings as he’s thrown, I wasn’t going to take a chance. My hope is that he continues to check out fine, but I wasn’t going to take a chance.”
After Severino exited the game, Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson threw two scoreless innings each to keep the score tied at 1-1 before Aroldis Chapman allowed the winning run in the ninth.
Severino threw a career-high 193 1⁄3 innings in the regular season and has thrown 11 1⁄3 in three postseason starts. He is scheduled to pitch in Game 6 of this series if it goes that far.
On Saturday, Severino allowed one run and two hits and threw 62 pitches. He walked two and didn’t strike out a batter. No strikeouts may have been a red flag for the Yankees, although Severino’s velocity seemed fine.
“I feel great,” a perplexed Severino said. “My arm feels 100 percent great.”
Houston’s run against him came in the fourth when Carlos Correa hit a home run just over the short rightfield fence and out of the reach of Aaron Judge.
Girardi questioned whether a young fan in the front row interfered with Judge, and the umpires ordered a crew chief review. Replay officials decided there was no interference.
Luis Severino’s numbers before early exit
1 Earned Run
1 Home run