It isn't only Yankees fans who are eagerly anticipating Luis Severino's big-league debut Wednesday night against the Red Sox at the Stadium.
"We're very excited about it," Alex Rodriguez said. "Sometimes the best trades you make are the ones you don't make."
General manager Brian Cashman came away mostly empty at the trade deadline, choosing to hold on to the club's top-rated prospects -- Severino, Aaron Judge and Greg Bird -- rather than include one of them in a deal for a front-line pitcher such as Johnny Cueto, Cole Hamels or David Price.
With Michael Pineda on the disabled list with a strained right forearm, Severino, the club's No. 1 pitching prospect the last two years, will be given every opportunity to hold that spot and stay in the rotation even after Pineda returns.
"It's definitely exciting," Dellin Betances said. "We've been talking about him for a while. He's been doing a hell of a job in Triple-A, so we're excited about him joining our club."
Severino, who started the season with Double-A Trenton, has been terrific with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, going 7-0 with a 1.91 ERA and 0.93 WHIP in 11 starts and holding opponents to a .184 batting average.
"He has really matured since last year," said one opposing team scout who covers the Yankees' farm system.
Severino's fastball, which sits in the range of 93 to 97 mph and occasionally hits a tick or two above that, is considered his best pitch. The scout agreed but added: "The changeup is an out pitch for him now and the entire selection is above average. He's also added a pretty good cutter. He's made quality strides with his extra pitches."
Brian McCann didn't catch Severino a lot in spring training but recalled his "live arm."
"We got a glimpse of [what he can be] in spring training," McCann said. "He's put together a phenomenal season and we're excited to have him join us."
Facing a club that was led by David Ortiz and Pedro Martinez while Severino was growing up will make it extra thrilling for the rookie, a native of the Dominican Republic.
"I mean, you're talking about him pitching against Boston," said Betances, whose parents are Dominican. "A lot of guys that grow up in the Dominican are either Boston or Yankees fans, so I'm sure it's going to be very exciting for him and his family as well. Whatever we [in the clubhouse] can do to help him, we'll talk to him. He looks like a real confident guy, and that's going to help him on Wednesday."
The AL East-leading Yankees have a 51/2-game lead but have a rotation filled with question marks about performance (the ongoing struggles of CC Sabathia and inconsistency of Masahiro Tanaka) and injury (Pineda).
Joe Girardi doesn't want to burden Severino with through-the-roof expectations, but in discussing him, he did sound a lot like his players.
"I'm excited to see Severino," he said. "There's been a lot of talk about him. I don't want to put too much pressure on him and I'm not going to make too much of one start, two starts, three starts. I know the kid is talented and I know at some point he's really going to help us, but I think we're all interested in how he handles it."
McCann said it will be a memorable night.
"It's a day you'll never forget," he said of a player's big-league debut. "Everyone handles them differently. For me, I was playing in my hometown [Atlanta], had my whole family there, and I just remember the nerves until the game started and then trying to make your mark and trying to prove you belong."