The Yankees need Luis Severino at his best to win a World Series title. Unfortunately, he won’t pitch for the team until May.
Luckily for the Yankees, the World Series can’t be won or lost in April. Manager Aaron Boone and his team will be without ace starting pitcher Luis Severino until early May at the absolute earliest.
The good news for New York is that there’s still no indication of any structural damage in the pitcher’s right shoulder. He felt discomfort in the bullpen preceding what was scheduled to be his first appearance of Spring Training and the team immediately shut him down. There was hope that he could come back by mid-April, but now GM Brian Cashman is telling the media that he won’t pitch in an MLB game until May 1.
It’s clear the organization is trying to err on the side of caution with their most gifted pitcher. Rushing him into action too soon might increase the possibility that he’d suffer a serious injury that would cost him the entire 2019 season. That scenario would be disastrous for the Yankees’ hopes of winning a 28th World Series title.
It’s still perfectly fair for Yankees fans to be concerned. Arm/shoulder issues for a young, elite starting pitcher are never good. Even if Severino is just suffering from simple inflammation, it’s always possible the symptoms could recur without warning. This is a situation the Yankees’ medical staff will monitor closely all season long.
In the short-term, Severino’s injury gives Boone an interesting question about which starting pitcher should replace him in the rotation. Remember, CC Sabathia is also scheduled to miss the start of the season due to injury. Many fans are clamoring for a big-name free agency signing to help bolster the team’s starting pitching options, but it’s very unlikely Cashman will make that move unless someone’s injury is more serious than it appears right now.
That means that Luis Cessa, Jonathan Loaisiga and Domingo German are likely going to battle it out over the next two weeks for the two available spots in Boone’s rotation. Cessa’s dominant spring has to make him a favorite to begin the year in the rotation. Both Loaisiga and German have shown flashes of brilliance in Grapefruit League play, but consistency is a big question mark for both guys.
In the end, the Yankees should be fine if Severino does make a full recovery and rejoins the rotation in Early May. Saving some wear and tear on his body could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for a team with big postseason plans. If the injury lingers any longer though, it could greatly limit the Yankees’ ceiling in 2019.