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Severino moved up to start finale vs. Twins

MLB.com @BryanHoch

NEW YORK -- The Yankees are prioritizing their pursuit of the Red Sox over a chance to keep the Twins from seeing Luis Severino, shuffling their rotation once again to send their best starter to the mound in Wednesday's series finale at Yankee Stadium.

Severino will start in place of Masahiro Tanaka, who had initially been slotted to make the start. Manager Joe Girardi said that the switch permits the Yankees to start Severino three times before the end of the regular season if necessary.

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NEW YORK -- The Yankees are prioritizing their pursuit of the Red Sox over a chance to keep the Twins from seeing Luis Severino, shuffling their rotation once again to send their best starter to the mound in Wednesday's series finale at Yankee Stadium.

Severino will start in place of Masahiro Tanaka, who had initially been slotted to make the start. Manager Joe Girardi said that the switch permits the Yankees to start Severino three times before the end of the regular season if necessary.

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"Our goal is still to win the division. We have clinched nothing at this point," Girardi said. "We still have a lot of work to do in front of us."

With 12 games remaining on the schedule, the Yankees entered play on Tuesday trailing Boston by three games in the American League East and leading the Twins by five games for the first AL Wild Card spot.

"I know that time is short, but things can happen really quick in this game," Girardi said. "We've seen ourselves go from 3 1/2 down one week to being in first place in one week. You hope that can happen again, but the only thing we're in control of is what we can do."

The Yankees informed Severino on Monday that they would be sending him to the hill on Wednesday, rather than starting Friday's series opener against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Severino said that his preference was to start Wednesday on regular rest.

"If I had to choose, I'd choose [Wednesday]," Severino said. "I like to pitch on five days. When I rest a lot, my arm feels very good so I can't control my fastball. I feel better for five days."

Severino, who is 13-6 with a 2.93 ERA in 29 starts, has never faced the Twins or any batter on their roster, which could have made him an appealing option should the Yankees face Minnesota in the AL Wild Card Game on Oct. 3.

But if Severino does start three more times on regular rest, his next outings would come on Monday against the Royals and on Sept. 30 against the Blue Jays. Girardi said that the Yankees still have flexibility to adjust, since they have six starting pitchers.

"Like I always say, if they need me, I'd be happy to be there," Severino said. "But we've got a lot of good guys here. If we win the Wild Card Game, maybe they need me for the first game of the [AL Division] Series. If they ask me to do it, I'd be very happy. I'd do my best."

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

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

New York Yankees