Luis Severino sees himself as a starter, as do the Yankees.
And the young righthander is making it difficult for the Bombers to keep him out of the rotation much longer.
Last year’s late-season phenom entered in relief Wednesday for an ineffective Chad Green and was terrific, earning the victory in the Yankees’ 9-5 win over the Mets by allowing an unearned run, one hit and a walk in 4 1⁄3 innings.
“We envision him as a starter, and we’ve always envisioned him as that,” Joe Girardi said afterward. “Obviously that’s [reinserting him into the rotation] going to be talked about a lot. He looked really good tonight.”
In striking out five, the 22-year-old Severino resembled the pitcher he was last season when, in the heat of a pennant race, he went 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 11 starts, featuring a darting mid-90’s fastball and wipeout slider.
Girardi said before the game Severino worked with pitching coach Larry Rothschild on a “mechanical” issue, which the pitcher said involved tipping his pitches.
“I think the mechanical thing he’s had, he corrected it as well as he has the whole season,” Girardi said. “We were really pleased with what we saw . . . his slider has been better, I thought his fastball command was better. And he even threw a few changeups. Tonight was the best I’ve seen him.”
Severino came on with two on and two outs in the fourth and struck out Yoenis Cespedes. He retired the first seven batters before he walked Curtis Granderson to lead off the seventh. Neil Walker followed with a bunt single and Chase Headley committed an error on a Cespedes grounder to load the bases. But Severino struck out Jay Bruce and, after James Loney’s grounder to first brought in the unearned run, the righty struck out Michael Conforto to end the inning.
“Sevy was great,” said Mark Teixeira, whose three-run homer in the second gave the Yankees a 6-3 lead. “We know he has great stuff; electric fastball, really good slider. He came in and shut the door and we needed that.”
Severino entered the season accompanied by big expectations but, after an up-and-down spring, he struggled out of the gate, going 0-6 with 7.46 ERA before landing on the disabled list May 14 with a right triceps strain.
After returning from the DL May 30, Severino was sent to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to work out his issues.
But even as he pitched well in the minors, he wasn’t recalled until July 25, though not to start.
Wednesday night’s outing followed a pair of scoreless relief appearances and Severino, who earned his first victory since last Sept. 27, now seems destined to reclaim his spot in the rotation in the near future.
“I’m just thinking about doing my job,” he said. “I want to be a starter but like I’ve said, if you put me in the bullpen, I have to do my job. If you have me in the rotation, I have to do my job.”