Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino throws in the top of the first...

Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino throws in the top of the first inning against the Rays during a spring training game at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., on March 4. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — There's some good news at last on the injury front for the Yankees.

Though, for the moment, that should be taken with a grain of salt.  

Luis Severino threw a three-inning simulated game Friday morning in Tampa, a session that received positive reviews but  also was held at a closed Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, away from the prying eyes of the media, who might have been able to watch had it taken place at the usual location for such things, the team’s minor-league complex.

“I heard everything went well,” Aaron Boone said Friday before the Yankees opened a three-game series against the Rays at Tropicana Field. 

Severino started the season on the injured list with the right lat strain he suffered midway through spring training. Boone said last weekend that he would start a rehab assignment either this past Wednesday or Thursday with Low-A Tampa. But the Yankees scrapped that plan mid-week, choosing  to go with the more “controllable environment” that comes with a simulated game.

Boone said Severino should begin a rehab assignment next Friday   with either Double-A Somerset or Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Severino threw 40 pitches Friday, meaning he likely will need at least three rehab starts, and probably more, to get built back up as a starter. A best-case scenario would be a return by early June. But that  assumes no setbacks, something that can’t be guaranteed for any player, Severino in particular.

He has been cursed by injuries almost from the time he signed a four-year, $40-million extension early in spring training 2019. Since then, he is 9-4 with a 2.85 ERA in 26 games (22 starts). There have been setbacks during this rehab process, too, as one initial prognosis in March called for Severino to perhaps miss  a small handful of starts in April, something that long ago went by the wayside.

Severino is part of a rotation that was missing key pieces entering the season.

Frankie Montas, the headline acquisition at last year's trade deadline, arrived with right shoulder issues and underwent arthroscopic surgery Feb. 21. Though Montas said in spring training that he plans on pitching late this season, the Yankees aren’t counting on it.

Then there’s lefthander Carlos Rodon, signed to a six-year, $162 million contract despite a bevy of IL stints on his career resume, who went down in  spring training with a left forearm strain. That appears to have healed, but a back issue cropped up after he faced hitters April 5. After consulting with various specialists, Rodon will get a cortisone shot in the affected area (his mid-back) early next week.

“Definitely optimistic,” said Rodon, who did some light running at the team’s minor-league complex earlier in the day and was in the visitor’s clubhouse at Tropicana Field on Friday. “We’ve had various opinions, three to be exact. They all seemed to settle on the same thing, so I think that’s the route us as a group want to go. I think it’ll be better in the long run and I’ll be better coming out of it.”  

Rodon said the back locked up on him shortly after the live BP session April 5.

“When I throw, at this point I don’t feel pain, I feel more restriction,” he said. “Say I throw a pitch like a fastball, it’s just inconsistent, whether it’s command or how it moves. I can tell, just the way I moved on the mound, it’s not what it normally [is].”

Though Rodon said the forearm is fine, he knows better than to make any predictions about a return.

“I don’t put a timeline on anything,” he said. “I know I’ll get this injection and I’ll want to throw as soon as I can. Whenever my body tells me I can throw.”

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