Yankees: Luis Severino’s return in rain goes perfectly Tuesday night


Where were you 707 days ago?

Wait. Don’t answer that. I actually know: watching, dejectedly, as the 2019 New York Yankees‘ “Next Man Up” season began to peter out, as they slipped behind the Houston Astros 2-1 in that year’s ALCS.

And I know that because it’s also the last time Luis Severino toed a major-league mound prior to his Tuesday night unveiling against the Texas Rangers.

That day, Severino didn’t look quite right after missing nearly the entire 2019 regular season, only to return in a highly-restricted role in September following shoulder issues. And yes — I did say “that day” for a pivotal Game 3 in the Bronx. Why on earth did MLB neutralize the Yankees’ home field advantage with an afternoon start to help out some soon-to-be-uncovered cheaters? Beats us!

707 days ago, Yankee fans were concerned with the lack of bite on Severino’s pitches and the maximum effort it took for him to get through 4.1 innings, allowing two homers, five hits, three walks, and two earned runs on 97 pitches.

The damage, in the moment, was minimized. Long-term? Anything but.

As it turned out, Severino’s arm was already bothering him, a problem that wouldn’t go away all winter long and remained undiagnosed until February, when he underwent an MRI the day after his birthday and learned he’d be slated for Tommy John surgery.

Tuesday night, in the misting rain — 707 days after a disappointing day that spiraled, a long summer, and a setback or two — Severino strode to the mound and delivered. His stuff is still ramping up. His mojo, however, is firmly in place.

Two shutout innings in bad weather against the last-place Rangers must’ve felt like Game 7 of the World Series in sunny Southern California to Sevy.

Yankees starter Luis Severino’s return in the rain was perfect.

Between his first and second inning of work, the rain seemed to pick up a bit, and it wouldn’t even take a particularly skeptical breed of Yankee fan to be nervous about what was about to come.

Aaron Boone seemed determined to push his righty against the heart of the Rangers lineup. We weren’t worried about the game in the balance; we were just worried about his balance.

After all, it was mid-June when Severino’s comeback seemed to be roaring, only for him to take a twist and tumble on the mound in Brooklyn. To the naked eye, his groin appeared horribly torn.

Somehow, it stayed intact, though the righty’s return was again bumped back when he battled shoulder stiffness in Scranton towards the middle of August.

It wasn’t supposed to take this long, and it wasn’t supposed to be this wet, but Severino showed off the fastball at 94-95 (good, he didn’t overthrow), and displayed an advanced feel for the changeup. The slider will come, if he’s given a long enough runway by his teammates’ success.

It could be solid by Sept. 30, sure, but by Oct. 15, we could be witness to something special.

We’re not sure how Severino’s time on the rubber went so well on Tuesday night. We’re not conditioned to seeing him strut off the mound, not a single consequence behind him.

707 days ago, Sevy didn’t look like the ace we knew he could be. 707 days later, he resembled a version of that ace, fighting back with each measured fastball. We’ll take it.