Yankees: Luis Severino to make his first rehab start on Sunday for Double-A Trenton
After throwing another simulated game on Tuesday without any issues it looks like Yankees ace Luis Severino is finally ready to begin a minor league rehab assignment.
Tuesday was another big step in the right direction for Sevy as he continues to work his way back from a right shoulder and right lat injury that has kept him on the IL all season. He threw 35 pitches on Tuesday to minor league hitters at the Yankees complex in Tampa and the plan is for him to do the same on Sunday when he starts for Double-A Trenton.
We’ll have to wait and see what’s next after Sunday for Severino if all goes well, but as long as he continues to feel good my guess is he’ll be back in mid-September. The Yankees still haven’t put out an exact timetable for his return and understandably so, but manager Aaron Boone remains confident that he’ll be an impact player down the stretch and in the postseason.
Here’s what Boone had to say aregarding Sevy’s progression prior to Tuesday night’s win over the Mariners, per Bryan Hoch of MLB.com:
"“We feel like he’s throwing the ball really well. I’m looking forward to having him. I know what he can mean to us. There is not necessarily that rush to get him here now. I want him to be in as good a place as possible when we’re ready to take him.”“I picture him very much being part of things moving forward,” Boone said. “I’ll also tread carefully there. We’ve done well over the last month with him. I absolutely feel like he’s going to be a part of things. The next step is the focus right now.”"
Obviously, getting Sevy back a couple of weeks before the postseason starts would be a huge boost for the Yankees, whether he returns as a starter or not. Boone hasn’t really hinted at how he plans on using him once he returns but as long as he’s healthy that’s the most important thing because he’s going to help them regardless of his role.
The Yanks can get very creative with him in October because they have the luxury of having arguably the deepest bullpen of any postseason contender. One route they could go is to use him in relief of an opener and have him throw multiple innings before handing the ball off to their high leverage relievers later in the game. It’s likely that Severino will be on a strict pitch limit for the remainder of the season, but if his max is around 50 to 60 pitches he can certainly fill that role very effectively.
They could also choose to start Sevy and let him pitch for as long as he can. Although when you have a guy like Chad Green who’s been great in the opener role the best strategy might be to have him follow Green out of the pen.
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In addition to Severino, Dellin Betances is also expected to return at some point in September. Betances reportedly threw a sim game of his own on Wednesday and the plan is for him to face live hitters again on Saturday. If Sevy and Dellin both make it back the options for Boone come October would be endless and I think it would make his decision to use an opener or not a much easier one.
Imagine a scenario where Green pitches the first inning and is followed by Betances for an inning and then Sevy for the next three. That formula has the potential to be a gamechanger for the Yanks because after that Severino could hand the ball off to the big four at the back end of Ottavino, Kahnle, Britton, and Chapman to finish things off.
That would be a sight to behold for Yankee fans but let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. Both Sevy and Dellin are making positive strides each day, but they still have some more hurdles to climb before these dream scenarios become a reality.