The Yankees’ rotation has had its share of issues of late, but despite the relative urgency with the starting staff, there is no plan to rush Luis Severino through his rehab assignment.
Severino has been on the injured list all season as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery, though his most recent malady was a right groin strain he sustained while on a rehab assignment in mid-June. On Tuesday, he returned to game action, allowing two runs on two hits and one walk with four strikeouts over 2 1/3 innings in a rehab start for Double-A Somerset.
After throwing 30 pitches in the first inning, Severino needed only 10 pitches to get through the second, then returned to face one batter in the third before being lifted.
“I think, an encouraging step for Sevy. His stuff got a little better as the outing went along,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone, who watched the tape Wednesday afternoon. “A positive step for him.”
The Yankees will start Nestor Cortes on Thursday against the Mariners, though Boone said Friday’s starter had yet to be determined. Both Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery are on the COVID-19 injured list, leaving two holes in the rotation, but Boone said Severino will make at least two more Minor League rehab starts before the Yanks decide what his next step will be.
“We don’t want to feel like we're rushing him back for a guy that hasn't pitched in big league games for close to 20-plus months,” Boone said. “You don’t want to take him out of his rehab assignment -- essentially his Spring Training -- early. [After two more starts], hopefully we're in a position to say, ‘OK, when do we want to bring him back? How much is he built up? What kind of role?’”
Andrew Heaney will start Saturday’s game against Seattle, while rookie Luis Gil, the team's No. 6 prospect per MLB Pipeline, will be called back up to pitch Sunday after impressing in his big league debut on Tuesday. Boone said the Yankees have had no additional players affected by COVID-19 since Cole and Montgomery landed on the IL.
Slow and steady
Aaron Hicks has been with the Yankees during this week’s homestand, and while he was twirling a bat in his right hand while standing behind the cage during batting practice, all the outfielder could do was watch and wait for his surgically repaired left wrist to heal completely.
Hicks played 32 games this season before undergoing surgery to repair a torn tendon sheath in his wrist in late May. He hadn’t spoken publicly about the decision to have the surgery, saying Wednesday that it wasn’t difficult.
“I literally couldn’t even hold [a bat],” Hicks said. “It was a pretty easy decision, especially with all the inflammation that I had. As soon as I tried to start hitting, it started acting up again.”
Hicks said he had been dealing with wrist issues on and off for the past three years, but the problem became much worse during the early part of this season. He expects to have a normal offseason, setting him up to be back for next year’s season opener.
“It definitely sucks,” Hicks said. “I was pretty confident going into the year, and I just started getting going right before it happened. I just want to play and help my team, but I’m not able to do so.”