TAMPA, Fla. -- Luis Severino and the Yankees are discussing a contract extension that would allow the right-hander to avoid salary arbitration, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported on Wednesday.
Severino declined to comment on the development, but acknowledged that he hopes to avoid an arbitration battle with the club. Severino -- who is expected to be the Opening Day starter as stated by manager Aaron Boone in a Wednesday press conference -- earned $604,975 last season and requested $5.25 million, while the Yankees countered at $4.4 million, a difference of $850,000.
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A potential hearing date has yet to be announced. The Yankees' last encounter in arbitration was in 2017, when reliever Dellin Betances and team president Randy Levine clashed in a war of words following a contentious hearing.
"I think any player doesn't want to be in that situation," Severino said. "I think the last guy here was Dellin. I haven't talked to him, but I hear a lot about what's going on there. It's not fun."
Severino was a leading candidate for the American League Cy Young Award through the season's first four months, going 14-2 with a 2.12 ERA through 19 starts. From July 12 through the end of the year, Severino was 5-6 with a 5.69 ERA in 13 starts.
The hurler, who turns 25 next week, said that he has altered his diet and workout program to avoid a similar dropoff in 2019.
"Where I came from [in the Dominican Republic], we just eat anything we see in the fridge," Severino said. "Fried food, fast food. Eating more vegetables and stuff like that gets your body going faster, and recover fast. I'm focusing on my workouts, avoiding doing a lot of weights. That made me more tight. I'm running a lot and getting my stretching going."
Severino sought the assistance of Cynthia Sass, the team's nutritional consultant, as well as a nutritionist in the Dominican.
As a result of his changes, Severino said he has lost 12 to 15 pounds and feels "way lighter" than he did at the end of the season.
"It's not easy. I really hate eating vegetables," Severino said. "Nothing fried, not a lot of sugar. I just drink a lot of water. I love fried chicken and fried plantains; I love that, but now I can't eat that."
Jordan Montgomery said that his recovery from Tommy John surgery has been "more tedious" than he expected, but the left-hander believes that he is progressing well and expects to return to a big league mound after the All-Star break.
"I've got four more months to get it as strong as I can, and work on anything I want to with my mechanics," Montgomery said. "Clean those out and get my legs stronger. Just get in better shape and come back a whole new pitcher. That's the plan."
Montgomery said that he has been making 50 throws at 60 feet for about three weeks. The next step would be increasing distance to 90 and 120 feet, and Montgomery anticipates that he will be throwing off a mound by the end of Spring Training.
The Yankees invited left-hander Phillip Diehl and right-hander Trevor Stephan to big league camp on Wednesday, bringing the number of players expected in camp to 63. Stephan is rated as the organization's No. 7 prospect by MLB Pipeline.
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He said it: "You're going to get a guy who's going to bring everything I've got. I go out there and give you everything I have, every start and every pitch. I'm not going to leave anything without going full-bore." -- James Paxton
Up next: The Yankees' pitchers and catchers are scheduled to hold their first workout on Thursday at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Activity on the field is expected to begin shortly after 11 a.m. ET.