Luis Severino’s season debut lasted four innings and totaled 67 pitches, but his return from a lengthy stay on the injured list drew positive reviews from the New York Yankees.
With the postseason coming quickly, the Yankees are looking to get Severino stretched out further in the regular season. The next chance to do that comes Sunday afternoon when the Yankees host the Toronto Blue Jays in the final regular-season home game at Yankee Stadium.
Severino will be starting after the Yankees (101-55) evened the three-game series with Saturday’s 7-2 victory when Giancarlo Stanton homered and had an RBI double to help James Paxton win his 10th straight start. The Yankees picked up their latest win after an MRI exam on Gleyber Torres’ right hamstring came back negative and the All-Star second baseman said he feels good (though he will not be in the lineup Sunday).
Severino made his anticipated season debut after a lengthy injury saga that began in spring training with right rotator cuff inflammation and then the diagnosis of a strained lat muscle in April. He did not throw off a mound until a bullpen session on Aug. 9 and made three minor league rehab appearances in a span of 12 days before being activated.
On Tuesday in an 8-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels, Severino allowed two hits, struck out four and walked two. It appeared Severino was only going to pitch three innings, but he convinced manager Aaron Boone to let him throw another inning.
“What I loved was just how in control he was with his delivery,” Boone told reporters after the game. “The stuff was very good, but it wasn’t like he was reaching for it or trying to do it. He really stayed within himself the entire night and really gave us four outstanding innings.”
Severino showcased good velocity with his fastball, averaging 96.6 mph on the 37 four-seam fastballs in his season debut and topping out at 98.8 in the fourth.
“I felt great out there,” Severino said. “I feel very comfortable out there. Pitches were working great, everything was working great. I’ve been looking forward since it happened in spring training. It’s been a long time, a long road back. But I’m here now and healthy and I can help my team.”
Severino is 4-3 with a 4.19 ERA in 11 career appearances (10 starts) against Toronto, which matched a season-high with five straight wins before striking out 15 times and allowing four runs in the sixth inning on Saturday.
“To win at this place, you got to make all the plays,” said Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo, whose team is 8-3 in its last 11 games.
The Blue Jays were without Bo Bichette (concussion) for a second straight game and it is unlikely he will play Sunday. Bichette was hit on the bill of his helmet Thursday in Baltimore and the Blue Jays are hopeful he can return before the season ends.
Rookie Trent Thornton (5-9, 4.93 ERA) will either start or follow an opener but regardless of the role, he is hoping to continue some recent success. Thornton is 1-0 with a 1.23 ERA over his last three appearances and last pitched in Tuesday’s 8-5 win at Baltimore when he allowed one run on three hits in five innings after Ryan Tepera allowed two runs in the first inning.
Thornton is 0-1 with a 6.28 ERA in three career starts against the Yankees. In his only start in New York on June 26, he allowed five runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings in Toronto’s 8-7 loss after being handed a 5-0 lead.
–Field Level Media