Luis Severino’s return finally seems imminent, as Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters (including The Athletic’s Lindsey Adler) that the team hopes to activate Severino from the injured list within the next few days. Severino will be used out of the bullpen, possibly pitching up to three innings at a time as a long man.
It has been a long road back for Severino, who hasn’t pitched in a Major League game since Game 3 of the 2019 ALCS. The 2019 season as a whole saw Severino limited to 20 1/3 total innings in the regular season and postseason due to lat and shoulder problems, and he hit another major roadblock when he underwent Tommy John surgery prior to the 2020 season. The TJ recovery process hasn’t been smooth, as Severino has also had to deal with a groin injury and some shoulder tightness during his rehab work this year.
Given Severino’s long absence, it could be unrealistic to expect an immediate resumption of his All-Star form from 2017-18. However, in short bursts coming out of the bullpen, Severino could be quite the weapon for Boone to utilize down the stretch or (the Yankees hope) into the playoffs. If Severino is able to pitch as many as three innings, he could effectively be an opener or a piggyback starter, thus allowing New York to forego a traditional starter once through the rotation.
Since August 28 (the date the Yankees’ 13-game win streak game to an end), New York relievers have combined for a 4.82 ERA, ranking 24th in the majors in that span. Jonathan Loaisiga has been arguably the best Yankee reliever this season, though he has been on the 10-day IL since September 5 due to strained rotator cuff and might be at least a week away from returning.