TAMPA, Fla. — Luis Severino will not start on Wednesday night against Toronto because of “general soreness,” manager Aaron Boone said on Tuesday.
Severino, who has a 17.18 ERA in two outings after missing most of the last three years because of injuries, will instead throw a bullpen session.
If that goes well, Boone said, Severino will make his final Grapefruit League start on Saturday against Atlanta before slotting in for the second game of the regular season on April 9 against the Red Sox.
Feel free to hold your breath, Yankees fans.
“He was a little sore coming out of his last one, so we just wanted to push it back a little bit,” Boone said.
When asked if it was Severino’s shoulder or elbow — both of which have been major issues over the last few years — Boone said: “No, I think just a little more general soreness, getting the pitch count up (49 in his last outing). He just wanted to be cautious with it.”
Severino returned as a reliever at the end of last season and threw a total of 7 1/3 innings in five outings (including the AL Wild Card game). He is slated to be the No. 2 starter behind Gerrit Cole, and the Yankees hope the 28-year-old can regain the form that saw him finish third in the AL Cy Young Award voting in 2017 and ninth in 2018 and make the All-Star team in both seasons.
But he has to be healthy first.
“I feel like it is general [soreness], and us being cautious,” Boone said. “But anytime I say that about a pitcher, especially of his stature and what he’s been through, yeah, it give you a little bit . . . But I feel like it’s something that resolves itself.”
Pitching coach Matt Blake admitted on Monday that the Yankees are concerned with how Severino has started the shortened spring training. Blake was speaking in terms of results, not health].
“Yeah,” Blake said. “I think anytime a guy comes out in spring training and doesn’t necessarily have the success that we want, it gives you pause. I think the fact that the velo has been there and the quality of the pitches have been there, but the execution hasn’t . . . some of it is game speed and just getting the delivery under control and getting him to repeat that a little bit more.
“I think if we had three or four more outings, you’d see it iron out. But right now, it’s kind of like, ‘Hey, we’ve got probably another seven-to-10 days to get this right and then continue to build on it in the season.’ It’s not going to be a finished product. It definitely gives you pause, but I think trusting in Sevy to put the work in for us.”
Boone said that Gerrit Cole will start on Opening Day and that the rest of the rotation will be Severino, Jordan Montgomery, Jameson Taillon and, when they need a fifth starter, Nestor Cortes.
“I don’t want to announce anything as official,” Boone said. “But that’s kind of how it’s lining up.”
Manny Banuelos will start on Wednesday in place of Severino.