TAMPA, Fla. — The New York Yankees seem to have picked up where they left off last season on the injury front, with pitcher Luis Severino joining the list of players dealing with ailments this spring training.
Severino became the second pitcher shut down by the Yankees this spring after reporting right forearm discomfort, which apparently dates to last October.
The Yankees will already be without pitcher James Paxton through at least April after the lefty underwent a procedure to remove a cyst as well as a microscopic lumbar surgery. Outfielder Aaron Judge has also been dealing with shoulder discomfort and has not taken batting practice yet this spring.
Severino was scratched from throwing his second bullpen session in camp and didn’t take part in pitchers’ fielding drills Thursday. After the workout, manager Aaron Boone said Severino had been dealing with forearm discomfort that started after Game 3 of the ALCS against the Houston Astros.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Severino had two MRIs — one in December and another in January — and a CT scan after complaining of discomfort, and all tests have been negative.
After the MRI in December, Boone said that Severino returned to the Dominican Republic and was cleared to start his throwing program.
“Whenever he’s on flat ground when he throws a changeup, he was just feeling that discomfort in his forearm,” Boone said.
In January, Severino was treated with anti-inflammatories and said he felt fine, Boone said. Testing revealed a “loose body” near his elbow, which the team believes is an incidental unrelated finding. Once Severino ramped up his throwing program this spring, he stayed away from his changeup.
“It’s just been fastball, slider; everything’s good,” Boone said. “We reintroduced [the] changeup the last couple of days on flat ground, no issues with that. And then last night, just sitting at home, he started to feel that soreness again; came in sore this morning. So we’ll shut him down here for a couple days and hopefully try and get to what exactly is going on in there.”
Cashman did not rule out that Severino might have to start the season on the injured list.
Severino, who is taking a new anti-inflammatory, will see team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad on Friday, though no further tests are scheduled at this time.
“Injuries are part of the game; dealing with injuries is part of the game. Assessing what a particular injury is and the level of that injury is obviously very difficult,” Cashman said. “Until we determine what’s really going on here, there’s an unknown part of this. We’ve run him through a whole bunch of tests, so far all negative. No new tests are currently scheduled, but I’m not going to rule out in the next 48 hours that won’t change.”
Cashman said he doesn’t think Severino’s current discomfort is related to his 2019 injuries. Severino, who turned 26 on Thursday, didn’t pitch in the majors until September of last year after spending most of the season on the IL because of injuries to his right rotator cuff and lat muscle.
“It just kind of creeps in and it sounds like he feels it mostly really on the changeup because of how he pronates the arm,” Cashman said. “… We’ll see.”
The Yankees, who set a major league record by sending 30 players to the injured list last season, are bracing for the possibility of losing two key members of the rotation ahead of their season opener at Baltimore on March 26.
“We’re obviously going to roll out a five-man rotation with names to be determined,” Cashman said. “Again, I’m not saying we’re not going to have Sevy, but I can’t represent we will yet because right now we’re going to back off completely and take the doctor’s orders.
“Obviously, you’d prefer to run your ‘A’ team out there, but I think we have a pretty strong ‘B,’ ‘C’ and ‘D’ team as well. So we’ll see.”