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Yankees GM Brian Cashman second-guesses handling of Luis Severino's return from injury

Brian Cashman answers questions during a news conference

Brian Cashman answers questions during a news conference at Yankee Stadium on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. Credit: Errol Anderson

LONDON — Yankees medical personnel has come under plenty of scrutiny this season as the injuries have mounted and a number of setbacks have occurred.

While not threatening that heads will roll in the offseason, general manager Brian Cashman did not hold back in second-guessing the decision to have Luis Severino begin his throwing program two weeks ago.

“Clearly, in hindsight, he never should have started his throwing program,” Cashman said before Sunday’s 12-8 victory over the Red Sox at London Stadium. “He passed all of his physical testing. He was strong. They made a determination not to do an MRI. And normally they don’t do an MRI to follow up after the down period of time. But in hindsight, clearly an MRI probably would have been warranted to make sure, and it wasn’t. He doesn’t like going in the MRI tube, but if we could turn the clock back, we would have an MRI. But it wasn’t done.”

Severino is the most recent Yankee to have a setback and has been shut down for five to seven days because the lat strain he suffered in early April has not completely healed. The Yankees had hoped he would be able to start throwing from a mound last week.

“We always evaluate our processes and if there’s gaps or problems or mistakes made by us and they’re dealt with,” Cashman said. “We’ve had a number of injuries this year. Most of them are unavoidable, some of them we could have done something differently along the way maybe, or the patient could have done something different along the way. That’s not atypical but, trust me, we know how important how important our individual players are and we’re always trying to do the best we possibly can on all levels.”

Concern about Voit, but he says he's feeling better

Luke Voit, who left Saturday’s game with what he described as discomfort in his lower left abdominal area, did not start Sunday, though he did take some batting practice on the field before the game.

“There’s concern,” Cashman said. “I don’t know yet if this is going to take him out of action for any extended period of time. He’s not going to play [Sunday], we’ll take advantage of the off day [Monday]. Currently no tests are scheduled. If they change that decision, we’ll let you know. But I saw him this morning and he said he’s feeling better.”

Sanchez dinged

Austin Romine replaced Gary Sanchez behind the plate to start the ninth inning after Sanchez jammed his left thumb while catching a pitch in the bottom of the eighth.

“It’s a little sore, but we’ll see,” Sanchez said through his translator. “We’ll see the next couple of days how it feels. Hopefully it’s fine.”

Sanchez had a two-run single during the nine-run seventh inning that gave the Yankees an 11-4 lead. He said he isn’t slated to have any tests but will be evaluated when the team gets back to New York.

“I think I’m definitely fine,” he said. “I think it’s just sore. We’ll ice it and it should be fine after some treatment.”

New hire

Cashman announced Sunday that the Yankees have hired Sam Briend of Driveline Baseball to serve as their director of pitching development, a new position in the organization. “He’s going to take over our pitching program at the minor-league level,” Cashman said.

Kevin Reese, the Yankees' senior director of player development, brought Briend’s name to Cashman. “He’s obviously been schooled and versed in all of the new-world training practices, so we’re looking forward to him leading the charge in our pitching development,” Cashman said.

He added: “There’s an explosion of technology and data and analytics in our entire sport clearly that we’re on top of. But what we’re not on top of, we’re going to close the gap on.”

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