The Yankees hope to recapture some of the Luis Severino magic they experienced in 2016, when the starting pitcher proved a more than capable reliever.
Before Sunday’s 11-1 loss to Cleveland, Aaron Boone said Severino likely will be activated early this week, perhaps as soon as Monday. Severino, who threw 35 pitches Saturday in a simulated game and is not stretched out, likely will be used out of the bullpen, though a starting role at some point can’t be ruled out.
Severino has not pitched in a big-league game since Game 3 of the 2019 ALCS against the Astros because he has been rehabbing from Tommy John surgery performed in February 2020. Groin and shoulder issues set him back this season.
In a mostly forgotten part of that 2016 season, Severino, plagued by poor performance and then injury much of the year, became a key member of Joe Girardi’s bullpen in September as the Yankees, sellers at the trade deadline, surged but ultimately came up short of a playoff berth.
A season after his electric debut late in 2015, Severino played a role as the Yankees made it interesting down the stretch in ’16, going 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA in eight games. In those 15 innings, Severino did not allow a homer and held the opposition to a .140 batting average and .246 on-base percentage.
German nears return, too
Boone said Domingo German, on the IL since Aug. 1 with right shoulder inflammation, also is in line to rejoin the Yankees "in a couple of days." German threw two innings of relief in his rehab outing Saturday with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Boone said German, like Severino, could be used in "a ton of different roles."
German was 4-5 with a 4.45 ERA in 21 games (18 starts) when he went to the IL.
Update on Taillon
Jameson Taillon, out since Sept. 7 with a slight tear in a tendon in his right ankle, came through Saturday’s bullpen session fine, Boone said Sunday. He said Taillon is slated to pitch in a rehab game "in the middle" of this week and then be reinserted into the rotation, likely on his regular fifth day.
Boone: Here’s the catch
Kyle Higashioka started Sunday as Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher, but Boone reiterated what he said Saturday: The everyday catching duties will be assigned day-to-day the rest of the season.
"I’m just going to try and put out who gives us the best chance to win each and every day. That goes for the entire lineup," Boone said. "We’re obviously down to the end now [with] important games, and so I’ll just put out there who I think gives us the best chance to win that day."
Sunday marked just the 10th time in Cole’s nine-year career that he allowed double-digit hits (10) in a game. The Yankees are 15-13 in his 28 starts . . . In their last 12 games, 45 of the Yankees’ 55 runs have scored via the home run . . . Since their 13-game winning streak, the Yankees are 7-15. In the same span, the Blue Jays are 18-4 and the Red Sox are 12-9.