Severino not concerned about spring stats

March 16th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Bryan Hoch’s Yankees Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Pay no attention to the Spring Training statistics,  urged, seemingly channeling Frank Morgan’s orders to the traveling party from "The Wizard of Oz." The most important development for the Yankees' right-hander this spring has been his recovered confidence, as he now fully expects to feel great the morning after a start.  

That quality, so easy to take for granted, has been lacking in recent years for Severino. As he begins arguably the most important year of his career, hoping to stand tall once again as a reliable member of the club’s rotation, good health is arguably his most valuable ingredient.  

“I’m happy that I know that I’m healthy,” Severino said. “I’m not going to have to worry about how I’m going to feel tomorrow.”  

Good thing, too, because the numbers do not paint a compelling picture. After permitting four runs to the Phillies in Wednesday’s 9-8 Grapefruit League loss, Severino owns a 10.64 ERA through four spring starts. He has been knocked for 13 runs in 11 innings, surrendering five home runs.

“That’s not going to work in the big leagues,” Severino said with a laugh. “In the season, it’s going to be better than that.” 

Yet manager Aaron Boone sees encouraging signs in Severino’s stuff -- his command was largely absent in his most recent outing, but his fastball has been popping the glove with lively action. He has struck out 14 against five walks, and his teammates have noticed. Gerrit Cole recently referred to Severino’s mound presence as having “some wild horse characteristics.” 

“I really feel like he’s in a good spot,” Boone said. “I feel like he’s throwing the ball well. It’s there. With Sevy, as we get closer and once we get into the season, I think he thrives on that added [adrenaline]. I would say I’m as encouraged about him as I’ve been this spring. He’s just got to dial in that next level of his command.”  

That’s important, because Severino’s rank in the rotation has jumped with a recent injury to left-hander Carlos Rodón, whose Yankees debut will be delayed until at least the middle of April.

Severino is likely to start the second game of the regular season on April 1 against the Giants at Yankee Stadium, following Cole’s fourth consecutive Opening Day assignment

Domingo Germán, Clarke Schmidt and Nestor Cortes are expected to follow; Cortes is being slotted in as the fifth starter because a right hamstring injury placed him about a week behind the other pitchers.  

That assignment appeals to Severino, who promises to be ready when the lights come on in the Bronx.  

“Right now [during Spring Training], it’s not going to be the same adrenaline out there,” Severino said. “I’m trying to work on pitches and see which one is going to work when I need it up there.”