The Yankees need Luis Severino to be at his best to win a World Series in 2019. Unfortunately, his rehabilitation has hit another setback.
Manager Aaron Boone deserves a lot of credits to piloting the Yankees to a seven-game lead in the American League East despite the team’s litany of injuries. The fact that Luis Severino hasn’t pitched a single inning this season may be the biggest issue the team has been forced to overcome.
The organization hoped that their right-handed ace would start throwing this week, but continued soreness in his lat/shoulder will push his timeline back an undetermined amount of time. Yankees officials claim that Severino’s injury is “90 percent healed,” but they won’t put him back on the mound until his recovery hits the 100 percent mark.
The only silver lining here for the Yankees is that a recent MRI didn’t show anything of real concern to Yankees medical officials. His injury is still healing, just not at the rate general manager Brian Cashman and company might have hoped. Team officials are adamant that Severino is expected to make his return during the 2019 regular season.
In the short-term, it’s a big blow for Boone and the team’s starting rotation. Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton have been too inconsistent to rely on. CC Sabathia’s numbers have been pretty good, but he relies heavily on cunning to get quality hitters out. J.A. Happ has struggled mightily en route to an ugly 5.23 ERA in 16 starts. The Yankees are expecting Domingo German to rejoin the rotation soon, but they’ve been relying on Chad Green as an opener for the past several weeks. Clearly, that’s not an ideal setup for a team with legitimate World Series aspirations.
Don’t expect any short-term concerns to cause the Yankees to rush Severino’s return. The team is doing the right thing by keeping him on the shelf until his body is completely ready to go. The worst thing the Yankees could do right now is risk a serious injury by trying to get their ace back a few weeks early.
Still, Yankees fans will be understandably concerned about Severino until they see him back on the mound dominating hitters. At this point, it’s anyone’s guess when that will occur.