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Sevy's bullpen session 'better than expected'

@BryanHoch
August 9, 2019

TORONTO -- Luis Severino said that he could not remember being more excited to step on a bullpen mound, which serves as a good indication of how important those pitches beyond the right-field wall at Rogers Centre were for the Yankees. With manager Aaron Boone and pitching coach Larry Rothschild

TORONTO -- Luis Severino said that he could not remember being more excited to step on a bullpen mound, which serves as a good indication of how important those pitches beyond the right-field wall at Rogers Centre were for the Yankees.

With manager Aaron Boone and pitching coach Larry Rothschild watching closely, the right-hander returned to a mound for the first time since March. He mixed in a few changeups and two sliders among his 23 tosses, and said he felt the session was "better than I expected."

"For me, it means a lot," Severino said. "It’s been a very long, long year. Now by doing this step, I feel I’m ready. I feel I’m going to help my team in a couple weeks."

Sidelined first by inflammation in his right rotator cuff and then a Grade 2 right lat strain, Severino has yet to pitch this season. He hopes to rejoin the Yankees for the September push toward the postseason, and has expressed a willingness to work either as a starter or a reliever.

“I thought he looked really good," Boone said. "The ball was coming out really well. Obviously, it’s a day we’ve all been looking forward to, because he’s felt pretty good these last couple weeks."

Severino believes he still has time to build his stamina for starting assignments. He is scheduled to throw another bullpen session on Monday, then will return to the mound after two days of rest. His next steps would be facing hitters, then getting into Minor League games or simulated action.

Boone said that it is possible for the Yankees to build Severino's stamina in the Majors, if necessary.

"Let’s say he joins us in a few weeks," Boone said. "Gradually, you could build him up through the month of September like you would during Spring Training. If he gets to us in a two- or three-inning mode, you could build his pitches that way. I think it’s possible. Whether we go there, whether we commit to that kind of remains to be seen, and it’s yet to be determined."

Judge 'a little off'

Aaron Judge was left out of the fun in Thursday's 12-6 victory over the Blue Jays, going hitless in five at-bats, and is batting just .164/.292/.273 with three doubles, a homer and two RBIs in his last 14 games since July 25. Boone said that he sees Judge as being "a little bit off."

Judge was not in the starting lineup for Friday's game against the Blue Jays, but entered in the bottom of the fourth after Brett Gardner was ejected.

Sparks fly in Toronto after Gardner ejected

"It's a matter of time before he really locks in," Boone said. "We’ll go through a stretch where he really carries us. Fortunately, a lot of the guys have really stepped up around him right now. I think there’s some subtle things that he’s working on to get himself right mechanically, but [in the long-term], he’ll be the beast that he normally is.

"I know that he’s going through a tough stretch by his standard right now, but I still look up and he’s basically a .900 OPS [.880]. And he’s going to get hot again and go through the ceiling. So everyone can question it all they want, but he’s a tick away from being the stud that he always is.”

Comeback trail

Aaron Hicks (right flexor strain) is performing manual exercises but is not scheduled to resume hitting or throwing for at least five days, Boone said.

Gleyber Torres (core issue) remains a possibility to appear in the lineup this weekend, Boone said. The Yankees plan to have Torres take ground balls and go through batting practice before he is cleared to resume play.

Minor move

The Trade Deadline may have expired on July 31, but teams are still free to swap players with Minor League contracts who are not on their 40-man roster. That is how the Yankees were able to acquire left-hander Joe Mantiply from the Reds on Friday in exchange for cash considerations.

Mantiply, 28, posted a 3.72 ERA in 18 appearances with Triple-A Louisville this season. He also made one appearance at Double-A Chattanooga while returning from Tommy John surgery, performed in March 2018. Mantiply was assigned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he pitched in 2017.

This date in Yankees history

Aug. 9, 2014: The Yankees held Paul O'Neill Day at Yankee Stadium, honoring the former outfielder with a Monument Park plaque. O'Neill batted .303/.377/.492 with a 125 OPS+ over his nine seasons in pinstripes, winning four World Series championships.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.