TAMPA, Fla. — The two innings could not have been much different.
Luis Severino, starting the Yankees’ spring opener on Wednesday, needed only nine pitches to retire the Tigers in a perfect first, ending it with a 95-mph fastball Justin Upton swung and missed on.
Severino then lost his command completely in a 28-pitch second, retiring one batter before allowing a hit, a hit batsman, two walks and a grand slam, departing in a 5-0 hole.
“I liked how he established his fastball on the inside part [of the plate] against righthanded hitters,” one opposing team scout said. “Then he just lost his cutter [in the second]. Really just getting his work in, working on his fastball location. Showed plus arm strength for first time out.”
Scouts had Severino’s fastball sitting at 94-97 mph, his slider 88-89 and cutter 90-91.
“When I got to the stretch I wasn’t finishing my pitches,” Severino said. “I don’t know what happened. In the first inning I was good from the windup, when I went to the stretch everything was up.”
Severino, assuming he stays healthy, is a near lock to make the rotation but the 22-year-old isn’t approaching spring outings that way.
“I have to worry,” Severino said of results. “I have to work for that [rotation spot].”
Slow go for Gardy
Joe Girardi said Brett Gardner, who is being handled cautiously this spring as he recovers from a bone bruise in his left wrist, will not play in the first two weeks of games.
“We will take it slow,” Girardi said.
Gardner took two separate rounds of full batting practice indoors Wednesday, and will do the same Thursday.
“Everything today went well,” Gardner said. “I’m sure tomorrow will, too.”
New second baseman Starlin Castro had two hits and one defensive gem, ranging to his right on a Mike Aviles grounder and throwing across his body for the final out of the third inning.
“I think the middle of our infield could be really good with the two guys we have,” Girardi said, also mentioning shortstop Didi Gregorius. “I think Starlin’s going to do a really good job.”
Fast from the gate
Much-hyped shortstop prospect Jorge Mateo tripled to leftfield in the ninth inning and later scored the tying run. The Yankees won, 10-9, two batters later.
“You don’t see too many triples to leftfield like that,” Girardi said. “He’s fast.”