Yankees’ rotation gets much needed boost with return of Severino

Luis Severino Yankees
New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino throws against the Cincinnati Reds in the first inning of a baseball game in Cincinnati, Sunday, May 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

This season couldn’t have started any worse for the New York Yankees’ pitching staff, but the rotation got a much-needed boost on Sunday with former ace Luis Severino making his season debut against the Cincinnati Reds. 

The 29-year-old Severino was looking to get back to a full season’s workload in 2022 after being limited to only 102 innings last year. However, the former Yankees’ ace was scratched from his final spring training start in March and then it was revealed that he had a low-grade right lat strain.

The same injury that kept him out for two months last season. 

After making two rehab starts, one each at Double-A and Triple-A, Severino made his Yankees season debut on Sunday, allowing one earned run over 4.2 innings while striking out five in the team’s win over the Reds.  

While he was pulled due to the team’s pitch limit restriction after just 75 pitches and wasn’t able to record the win, it was an encouraging outing for the right-hander. 

His fastball averaged 96.3 mph, and his changeup and fastball both registered a 33% whiff rate for a solid 30% whiff rate overall. However, his slider got hit the hardest of all of his pitches, inducing just one swing-and-miss and allowing a double to Spencer Steer and a single to Kevin Newman. 

With Severino likely to be stretched out to 85-90 pitches in his next start, the Yankees rotation is finally getting good news after Domingo German was suspended this week for using illegal substances on his hand and all of Carlos Rodon, Frankie Montas, and Luis Gil continuing to work their way back from injuries. 

Across seven MLB seasons with the Yankees, Severino has a 3.39 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, and 20.3% K-BB rate. Talent-wise he slots in as the second-best Yankees starter behind Gerrit Cole and is a boost for a New York team that currently sits 6.5 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the AL East. 

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Luis Severino Yankees
New York Yankees’ Luis Severino huddles with teammates during the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday, July 13, 2022, in New York.AP Photo/Frank Franklin II