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Severino, Yanks not fazed by big '17 workload

Right-hander worked on mechanics with Pedro over offseason
MLB.com @BryanHoch

TAMPA, Fla. -- Coming off a breakout season that saw him finish third in the American League Cy Young Award race, Luis Severino has set his sights upon turning in the same numbers "or even better" for the Yankees in 2018.

Severino, who turns 24 later this month, fired a bullpen session on Tuesday in front of pitching coach Larry Rothschild at the Yankees' Player Development complex. Severino said the thrill of the Yankees' postseason drive has him hungry to repeat that success this coming season.

TAMPA, Fla. -- Coming off a breakout season that saw him finish third in the American League Cy Young Award race, Luis Severino has set his sights upon turning in the same numbers "or even better" for the Yankees in 2018.

Severino, who turns 24 later this month, fired a bullpen session on Tuesday in front of pitching coach Larry Rothschild at the Yankees' Player Development complex. Severino said the thrill of the Yankees' postseason drive has him hungry to repeat that success this coming season.

"It was great; not only for me, but for the whole team," Severino said. "We made it to the playoffs and were one game away from going to the World Series. 2016 was a bad year, so I worked on the little things that I needed to work out -- my fastball command, my changeup. My confidence was way up."

Severino was 14-6 with a 2.98 ERA in 31 regular-season starts, striking out 230 batters against 51 walks, holding opponents to a .208 batting average. That earned Severino a spot in the AL Cy Young Award conversation alongside eventual winner Corey Kluber of the Indians and Chris Sale of the Red Sox.

Video: Outlook: Severino looks to build on stellar 2017

Having fired 193 1/3 innings during the regular season -- plus 16 more in four postseason starts -- Severino said that he was able to connect again in the Dominican Republic with Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, who worked out with Severino on several occasions prior to the 2017 season.

"The same stuff we did last year," Severino said. "My mechanics, my hands, I have to be more consistent with that. Sometimes it moves a little bit."

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has mentioned the possibility of a "hangover" effect with Severino, considering his innings jump. He threw 151 1/3 innings between the Majors and Minors in 2016, then logged 209 1/3 last year. Severino believes that he was prepared for that workload.

"That was why I worked out so hard in my offseason," Severino said. "I knew that I was going to throw a lot of innings. Not that many, but I feel good right now."

Video: Dynamic Severino big part of Yankees' 2018 rotation

Rothschild points out that while there was a significant difference between Severino's innings in 2016 and '17, Severino combined for 113 1/3 innings in '14 and was able to increase to 161 2/3 innings in '15 without issue.

"We're aware of what he's done and what we need to do to make sure that we keep him strong," Rothschild said. "He's aware of it. … The way he handled it arm-wise, we really didn't put him in too many games late into games where it looked like he was laboring."

Severino said that he was thrilled to learn of CC Sabathia's return, and expected his team to trade for Gerrit Cole, who landed instead with the Astros. While he believes the Yankees could use another starting pitcher, Severino sees his team as a legitimate postseason threat.

"Houston got [Cole], but of course, I think we need somebody else," Severino said. "But until we have it, I think we're good right now. I feel we can get to the playoffs and maybe get a surprise."

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

New York Yankees, Luis Severino