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Severino (shoulder) to miss April

@BryanHoch
March 15, 2019

TAMPA, Fla. -- With less than two weeks before the regular season begins, the Yankees could leave a star-studded group behind in the Sunshine State, with their list of injured players including ace right-hander Luis Severino and outfielder Aaron Hicks. Currently sidelined due to right rotator cuff inflammation, Severino is

TAMPA, Fla. -- With less than two weeks before the regular season begins, the Yankees could leave a star-studded group behind in the Sunshine State, with their list of injured players including ace right-hander Luis Severino and outfielder Aaron Hicks.

Currently sidelined due to right rotator cuff inflammation, Severino is not expected to return to a big league mound until at least May, according to general manager Brian Cashman. Severino is set to resume playing catch on Wednesday.

"I've been out for two weeks and have to get back on track," Severino said. "I just want to be healthy. I want to deal with this issue and be healthy to help my team."

Severino had been slated to start the March 28 season opener, and manager Aaron Boone subsequently replaced him with Masahiro Tanaka. The Yankees signed Severino to a four-year, $40 million extension in February; the 25-year-old was scratched from a March 5 exhibition when he felt a twinge after throwing a slider during warmups.

"I would say you're looking at May at the earliest," Cashman said. "He's going to have to then start from scratch and have his Spring Training, so at the very earliest it's a May date you're talking about. I can't tell you if it's past that. And if it needs to be more ... we've got to make sure we don't have a problem with it."

Hicks has not appeared in a Grapefruit League game since March 1 due to lower back stiffness, and though he received a cortisone injection this week, the switch-hitter is progressing slower than initially expected.

Cashman said that while Hicks should be healthy by Opening Day, he may not have accumulated enough at-bats or defensive reps for the club to feel comfortable entering the season with him on the active roster. Hicks suggested that he needs about 15 or 20 at-bats to be ready.

"Opening Day is what you get ready for in the offseason," Hicks said. "It's exciting; you want to feel that rush of the first game. It would definitely be tough, because I definitely want to be introduced with my team."

Hicks, 29, signed a seven-year, $70 million contract extension last month. He has been doing mostly cardio exercises of late after his back was aggravated by hitting and throwing.

"We're running out of time," Cashman said. "We're going to do what's right for us in the long haul, so I can't say I'm optimistic he'll be ready to go Opening Day."

If Hicks begins the season on the injured list, it could open the door for both Greg Bird and Luke Voit to be on the roster.

Cashman had previously said he did not anticipate carrying two first basemen on the roster, especially if the club goes with a three-man bench. Catcher Austin Romine and infielder DJ LeMahieu are locks to go north, with utility man Tyler Wade thought to be a strong possibility.

"I've had one limited conversation with our manager about that," Cashman said. "These are things we need to drill down on. It's come up."

One player that the Yankees do expect to have back in April is left-hander CC Sabathia, who is recovering nicely from a right knee cleanup in October and an angioplasty in December as he prepares for his final Major League campaign.

Cashman said the Yankees are considering opening the season with Sabathia on the active roster so he can serve the five-game suspension that was levied last September for throwing at the Rays' Jesus Sucre in a game at Tropicana Field.

"CC, if everything goes well, can be ready for us at some point in April," Cashman said. "But he's still going through it."

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