TORONTO – Luis Severino initially used one word to describe his first bullpen session since March: “Perfect.”
The righthander, out since the start of the season with right rotator cuff inflammation and a subsequent lat strain he suffered while rehabbing, threw 23 pitches Friday afternoon at Rogers Centre.
“Better than I expected,” Severino said, practically beaming. “I threw a couple changeups, the slider and everything was pretty normal. Like a normal bullpen. I was expecting my secondary pitches to be a little bit off, but they were good.”
Severino said he’ll throw another bullpen session Monday and likely another one on Wednesday. He could be deemed ready to face hitters sometime soon after that.
“It’s been a really long, long year,” Severino said. “Now I’m doing this, and now I feel that I’m ready and that I can help my team in a couple of weeks.”
It will take a bit longer than that for Severino to be activated, and just how long remains up in the air. From the beginning of spring training, it typically takes about six weeks to get starters stretched out, a time frame the Yankees don’t necessarily have as the regular-season clock counts down.
Aaron Boone has said – and he repeated it Friday – that one option might be to use Severino out of the bullpen to stretch him out, or to treat his starts like those in March.
“We’ll see where we are a few weeks from now, how much he’s built up once September gets here,” Boone said. “Let’s say he joins us in a few weeks; gradually we could build him up through the month of September like you would during spring training. If he gets to us in a two- or three-inning mode, the next time … you could build his pitches like that and just do it in the big leagues. Whether we commit to that remains to be seen. It’s still yet to be determined.”
Boone said Gleyber Torres, out most of the week while dealing with a “core issue,” would take grounders before Friday’s game, but he did not do that on the field, nor did he take BP on the field with his teammates. Boone said after the game that Torres did all of his work “inside,” including hitting in the cage. “Anything’s possible,” he said of Torres playing this weekend. “We’ll see how he responds.”
Sanchez headed north
After playing two rehab games with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday and Thursday, Gary Sanchez arrived in Toronto on Friday night and is scheduled to be activated before Saturday afternoon’s game.
“I don’t know if I would catch him Saturday and Sunday, especially with the doubleheader Monday [against Baltimore at home], so I’ll probably split those up the first few days,” Boone said, meaning splitting the games between Sanchez and Austin Romine.
The Yankees announced the acquisition of lefthander Joe Mantiply from the Reds for cash considerations. Mantiply, who was assigned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, is not on the 40-man roster. Though July 31 was the trade deadline, there are loopholes for deals. Players on minor-league contracts, for example, can be traded, as can those not on a club’s 40-man roster. Mantiply had a 3.72 ERA in 18 appearances with Triple-A Louisville this year.