Yankees right-hander Luis Severino continues to make his way back from Tommy John surgery, with a pair of big checkpoints on the horizon. Manager Aaron Boone told reporters (including Pete Caldera of The Bergen Record) that Severino will toss a three-inning simulated game today, and if all goes well, Severino is expected to begin a rehab assignment on Sunday.
Severino underwent his TJ procedure in February 2020, so while his recovery is taking a bit longer than the usual timeline of 13-15 months, that probably isn’t unexpected given that Severino also missed most of the 2019 season. Shoulder and lat problems limited Severino to only 20 1/3 combined innings in the regular season and postseason in 2019, so the Yankees will have essentially gone almost two and a half seasons without Severino before he is finally able to get back onto a big league mound.
It’s been a tough haul for a pitcher who looked like one of the better arms in the sport in 2017-18, when Severino made two All-Star teams and posted a 3.18 ERA/3.26 SIERA and 28.8% strikeout rate over 384 2/3 innings. The Yankees haven’t usually worked out contract extensions in recent years, but they were impressed enough by Severino’s work to lock him up on a four-year, $40MM deal covering the 2019-22 seasons, with a $15MM club option ($2.75MM buyout) for 2023. Between the shoulder issues and the Tommy John surgery, of course, Severino has barely pitched since signing that extension.
Given the long layoff, it might be optimistic to assume that Severino will immediately look like a front-of-the-rotation arm upon his return, though the Yankees will happily take anything close to that form. New York has gotten strong results from its rotation as a whole this season, but Corey Kluber will now be sidelined through July and Jameson Taillon (who is himself returning from a long Tommy John rehab) has been inconsistent over 42 2/3 innings.