Despite the fact that Luis Severino was dominant in 23 1/3 innings of relief last year after flopping in the rotation, the Yankees still view the 23-year-old as a starting pitcher, writes Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. That’s fine with Severino, who tells Davidoff: “Of course I want to be a starter.” Pitching coach Larry Rothschild tells Davidoff that Severino still has a starter’s mentality and adds some optimism that the talented righty can overcome the “bumps in the road” that he incurred in 2016. Severino shined as a 22-year-old rookie, logging a 2.89 ERA with 8.1 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and a 50.3 percent ground-ball rate in 62 1/3 innings back in 2015. However, he was clobbered for an 8.50 ERA and 11 homers in 47 2/3 innings as a starter last year before shifting to the ’pen. Working in short relief, Severino posted a 0.39 ERA and allowed just eight hits with a 25-to-10 K/BB ratio in 23 1/3 frames. He’s competing with Chad Green, Luis Cessa, Bryan Mitchell and Adam Warren for the two open rotation spots in the Bronx.
More from the AL East…
- Andrew Benintendi has just 118 plate appearances in the Majors and still qualifies as a rookie, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Red Sox are nonetheless considering batting the game’s No. 1 overall prospect (per Baseball America, ESPN and MLB.com) third in their lineup this coming season. Doing so would break up Boston’s other top four hitters (right-handed bats Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez) evenly. “A lot of times, a player is going to tell you what he’s ready for or capable of and how you would think he would handle adversity by not being fragile mentally,” manager John Farrell tells Rosenthal. “If we didn’t feel that way about Andrew, I don’t know that he’d be in the big leagues last year.”
- Jose Bautista tells Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports that his final night as a Blue Jay in 2016 and his drive from Toronto to Pennsylvania (where his wife’s family lives) following the season were incredibly emotional due to the uncertainty of his impending free agency. Bautista acknowledged that he thought the Blue Jays would move on in the offseason but said he’s thrilled to return to the city where he first thrived as a big leaguer. Always candid when it comes to discussing the financial side of the game, Bautista called his journey through free agency “confusing … tough at times,” but said he’s content with where he landed. “It’s hard to complain when you’re playing the sport you love, and you’re making a lot of money,” said the polarizing right fielder. Bautista also acknowledged Baltimore GM Dan Duquette’s offseason comments, in which Duquette stated that he wouldn’t pursue Bautista because Orioles fans “don’t like him.” While the slugger said it was strange for any executive to make that type of comment about a player, he also shrugged the comments off and expressed no interest in offering any type of rebuttal.
- Trey Mancini’s spot on the Orioles’ Major League roster was put in jeopardy when Baltimore re-signed Mark Trumbo and acquired Seth Smith, but the 24-year-old first baseman still aims to force his way onto the roster, writes Rich Dubroff of PressBoxOnline. Mancini explained to Dubroff that his cup of coffee late last season (during which he homered three times in five games) was invaluable due to the confidence it instilled in him from day one in Spring Training. Mancini also spoke to Dubroff about the work he’s put into improving his defense at first base and the the experience of getting his first real exposure to outfield work as well.
- Dubroff also notes that right-hander Logan Ondrusek will undergo an MRI on his ailing right elbow. It’s been a rough spring for the Orioles righty, who’s been limited to just two appearances due to an ankle injury that he sustained while avoiding a collision. “I feel snake-bitten right now,” said Ondrusek, who is vying for a spot in the Baltimore bullpen. Meanwhile, Baltimore is targeting March 17 for Chris Tillman’s first start of the spring. Shoulder trouble has slowed Tillman this offseason, and he underwent a platelet-rich plasma injection back in December in an effort to accelerate the healing process.