Injuries have prevented star Yankees right-handers Luis Severino and Dellin Betances from pitching in 2019, but that could change in the coming weeks. Severino and Betances have been medically cleared to begin throwing programs Monday, per reports from Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News and James Wagner of the New York Times.
The 25-year-old Severino proved himself as one of the game’s top young starters from 2017-18, which led the Yankees to award him a four-year, $40MM extension this past February. The club shut down Severino because of shoulder inflammation in early March, though, and discovered at the beginning of April that he had a Grade 2 lat strain. The expectation then was that Severino would debut in May, which was eventually pushed back to July and then August.
Severino began a throwing program before his latest shutdown, but general manager Brian Cashman revealed he did so before undergoing an MRI. Cashman expressed disappointment in the Yankees for letting Severino start throwing without first going through a more thorough examination. However, now it seems the hard-throwing Severino truly is on the way back.
While Severino was the ace of the Yankees’ staff over the previous two years, he’s far from certain to reprise that role in 2019. Cashman suggested Friday that Severino could max out as a 75-pitch hurler and/or work from the Yankees’ bullpen when he returns in “six or more weeks.” Regardless, Cashman’s sure to continue scouring the trade market for starters leading up to the July 31 deadline.
Like Severino, Betances came into 2019 hoping to build on a recent stretch of outstanding production. Instead, though, the 31-year-old reliever’s season – which happens to be his last under team control – hasn’t gotten off the ground. A bone spur in his shoulder and then a lat injury have prevented Betances from further making a case for a sizable offseason payday. They’ve also robbed the Yankees of their best setup man, though their bullpen has still held its own en route to the AL’s top record (61-33).