PHILADELPHIA — Luis Severino took precautions.
The Yankees ace, who started Tuesday night’s game against the Phillies, saw what happened to Masahiro Tanaka when he strained both hamstrings running the bases June 9 against the Mets and subsequently ended up on the disabled list.
And so Severino, and some other Yankees starters slated to start in National League parks, went to the bases.
Severino, for example, was seen several hours before Sunday’s game in St. Petersburg against the Rays doing base-running work with Matt Krause, the Yankees’ director of strength and conditioning.
“Krause told me you have to run the bases because you don’t want something like that to happen,” the 24-year-old Severino said Monday. “We ran four or five times; third to home, first to third. I think I’m more prepared for that [running the bases].”
It’s long been an annual topic accompanying interleague play. Tanaka, of course, went down with the double hamstring injury June 9 and only Tuesday the Orioles placed Dylan Bundy on the disabled list after spraining his left ankle Saturday rounding third base in an interleague game in Atlanta.
“We want them to be careful, certainly,” Aaron Boone said. “We try to prepare them as best we can just as far as the running they do on the field.”
It’s not something Severino even considered until watching Tanaka take off for home and scoring on an Aaron Judge sacrifice fly that night in Citi Field.
“I didn’t [think about it] until that happened,” Severino said. “That can happen to anyone if you’re not prepared. You could do something wrong, get hurt.”
Severino said his preparation for possibly running the bases continues during games as well.
“Between innings, if you need to jump on the bike to get your hamstrings activated or something like that, I’ll do that,” Severino said.
The potential for injury isn’t just running the bases.
Boone said he held his breath throughout Dellin Betances’ thoroughly entertaining at-bat in the eighth inning Monday night. Betances had the Yankees’ dugout perched on the top step as he took three uber-aggressive swings — each of them misses — in striking out against Yacksel Rios, an at-bat that included a bat waggle in honor of Gary Sheffield.
“I thought he had some pretty good swings,” Boone smiled. “They were violent but, man, my heart skipped a beat about seven times now watching our pitchers swing the bat. I don’t love it.”
Boone’s thoughts as Betances took his hacks?
“I’m in favor of this DH thing, that’s what I’m thinking,” he said.
Severino, bat in hand, imitated Betances and the bat waggle in the clubhouse before Tuesday’s game, a performance that got a laugh from the relief pitcher, who was sitting nearby.
For his part, Severino has one career hit to his name and remembered it well.
“Off Steven Matz,” he laughed. “Perfect spot.”
It was a popped-up bunt against Matz last Aug. 17 that landed to the left of the mound at Citi Field for a single. Severino, who said he likes hitting but isn’t exactly excited about facing Phillies ace Jake Arrieta at the plate, is 1-for-9 with three strikeouts in his career.
“It’s another view of the game so I have to enjoy it,” he said. “I’m facing Arietta, that’s not going to be fun. Still, I’m going to try and hit a foul ball. That’s going to be my goal.”
Severino recalled striking out twice against Seth Lugo June 10 and in the first at-bat getting a pitch to hit.
“Thing is, I know the first pitch is going to be a fastball,” Severino smiled. “You saw last time he [Lugo] threw me a first-pitch fastball and after that he threw me two curveballs I had no chance to hit. So that’s the only chance I have to hit a foul ball.”