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Yankees' Luis Severino determined to return to last season's first-half form

Luis Severino walks to the dugout as he

Luis Severino walks to the dugout as he leaves in the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox in Game 3 of the ALDS at Yankee Stadium on Oct. 8, 2018. Credit: Jim McIsaac

TAMPA, Fla.— Luis Severino can’t say for certain that tipping his pitches led to a mostly poor second half last season and a shelling by the Red Sox in Game 3 of the American League Division Series.

But he is well aware of the speculation and the video that went viral of Boston’s Jackie Bradley Jr. correctly calling out pitches in the dugout early in that game.

“I’m still not sure, but someone sent me a video of Jackie Bradley talking about ‘fastball’ or stuff like that,” Severino said Monday at the Yankees’ minor-league complex. “I’m looking forward to that [video of his starts] to see, but if I see something, I will definitely change it.”

Severino finished last season 19-8 with a 3.39 ERA and 220 strikeouts in 191 1⁄3 innings. Those are solid numbers, but the season still left a bitter aftertaste.

After beating the Red Sox on July 1, he was 13-2 with a 1.98 ERA and very much an AL Cy Young candidate. But he struggled after that, going 6-6 with a 5.67 ERA in his last 14 starts.

Severino did go 2-1 with a 2.04 ERA in his final three regular-season starts and threw four shutout innings against the A’s in the AL wild-card game, but he allowed six runs in three innings of the 16-1 loss to the Red Sox in ALDS Game 3.

Did he alter his offseason routine because of the rough second half?

“Of course,” Severino said. “I changed a little bit my workout. I think maybe I got a little tired toward the end [of the season], so I’ve been working on that. Also my mechanics. I’m not sure, but maybe I was tipping some pitches. I want to make sure none of that happens.”

He said that in the video work he has done, he hasn’t seen anything “consistent” suggesting he was tipping his pitches, but he will keep looking at it during spring training.

If he indeed was tipping, Severino said he isn’t angry at Bradley, the Red Sox or anyone else for capitalizing on it.

“No,” he said. “This is a game, you have to do what you need to win as a player. So if we saw that in another pitcher, that’s a big advantage. We need to win.”

Severino is excited to be in what he anticipates will be a “great” Yankees rotation and is confident that in 2019, fans will see a pitcher closer to the Severino of last year’s first half.

“It was tough,” he said. “I had a great first half and then all that happened. But I just struggled for a little bit. I know the pitcher I am. I know I can go back [to the pitcher of the first half]. I know I can pitch well again.”

Notes & quotes:

 Aaron Judge was among a slew of position players who reported to Tampa early — position players don’t have to report until next Monday — and worked out at the minor-league complex. Troy Tulowitzki also reported and worked out. Among those who have been spotted at the complex off and on this winter and for the better part of the last week, including Monday, were Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Luke Voit, Estevan Florial and Clint Frazier . . .  Didi Gregorius, recovering from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, threw for the first time during his rehab. Taking grounders next to Tulowitzki, Gregorius did some light throwing from shortstop and earlier threw 25 times at 60 feet. “I’m getting there,” said Gregorius, who is not expected back until June at the earliest . . . Manager Aaron Boone and third-base coach Phil Nevin watched batting practice.

New York Sports