NEW YORK -- Pitching for the Yankees was a childhood dream for Luis Severino, who once counted a cap that bore the interlocking "NY" among his prized possessions. He would take great care to keep the cap pristine, envisioning himself wearing one like it on the mound at Yankee Stadium.•
NEW YORK -- Pitching for the Yankees was a childhood dream for Luis Severino, who once counted a cap that bore the interlocking "NY" among his prized possessions. He would take great care to keep the cap pristine, envisioning himself wearing one like it on the mound at Yankee Stadium.
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It is a journey that his younger brother, Rafael, is about to embark upon. As Major League Baseball's international signing period opened on Monday, the Yankees signed the 19-year-old to a professional contract. The right-hander will pitch at the team's academy in the Dominican Republic.
"I told him the news. I was excited," Severino said at Yankee Stadium. "Every time somebody in your family has the opportunity to play professional baseball, it's really important in the Dominican."
Severino said Rafael has been working out at the International Prospect League academy in Santo Domingo, and that he throws 88-89 mph with a slider, changeup and sinker. Severino said the repertoire is more advanced than what he had at the same age.
"When I was 19, I was in the Gulf Coast League here [with the Yankees]," Severino said. "I had a fastball and slider. That was it. I didn't throw my changeup. He has all those pitches that he can throw whenever he wants. I think he's going to be really good."
Severino said he and Rafael have worked out together during past offseasons and described him as a "disciplined" worker.
"Yippee. Sign me up for that," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "Definitely good to have another Severino in the mix."
Now that Rafael is in the Yankees' pipeline, Severino believes his brother will take advantage of the training facilities to continue improving.
"He can run for one hour, doesn't get tired," Severino said. "Doesn't have a lot of strength in his arms, doing weights and stuff like that, but when he gets stronger he's going to throw hard. … I don't even know how long it's going to take, but I'm just glad that he's got the opportunity to be somebody."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.