Coming back from Tommy John surgery is not an easy task. It's an arduous process full of patience, discipline and plenty of obstacles throughout.
Luis Severino may still be in the midst of his recovery from his elbow surgery, but the right-hander assured on Monday that once he's ready to return this season, he'll be coming back as the same pitcher he was before his injury.
"I'm 100 percent sure that I'll be back to how I was in the past," Severino said in a Zoom call with reporters. "My body, my arm, even mentally, I feel pretty strong that when I get the chance to be back in New York, I'll be myself again."
Severino, 27, is approaching the anniversary of his Tommy John surgery last February and is expected to return to New York's rotation, barring any setbacks, at some point this summer.
"I hope to be back sooner, but that's not something that I have an exact date," Severino explained.
As soon as next week, Severino can get back on a mound for the first time since last spring. He said he's feeling "excellent," working his way up to throwing four times a week and tossing as far as 120 feet.
If he can come back as good as he was before his surgery, New York will be adding yet another top-of-the-rotation caliber hurler to its staff. Severino won 19 games back in 2018 and finished third in the race for the American League Cy Young award the year before that.
Severino isn't the only one that's confident about his recovery. Asked about his plans for the rotation this season, manager Aaron Boone assured that he's factoring Severino into the staff in a big way.
"I'm thinking he's very much going to be a part of it. When is the question," Boone said. "Whether it's midseason, whether it's All-Star break, the trade deadline, that'll play itself out here over the next few months."
Whenever he does come back, mixing Severino into a rotation with ace Gerrit Cole, two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber and former No. 2 overall pick Jameson Taillon has the potential to be an elite four-man punch if they can all stay healthy. The upside would be that the Yankees end up with one of the best rotations in Major League Baseball this year.
Left-hander Jordan Montgomery and a combination of Deivi García, Domingo Germán, Michael King and more will fill out the bottom of the rotation until Severino is good to go.
In the meantime, the right-hander will continue to inch closer and check off an assortment of milestones in his recovery along the way. It's only a matter of time until Boone can start penciling Severino's name in on his lineup card once again.
"The most important thing is I feel pretty good and just taking it day by day," Severino said. "I'm close to be throwing bullpens. After that, I'm going to face hitters. We will see how I feel and how the progress is going and we will see."
- With Less Fanfare, Gerrit Cole Was 'Businesslike' In First Live BP of Spring Training
- Yankees' Clarke Schmidt Has Right Elbow Strain, Won't Be Ready For Opening Day
- Corey Kluber 'Locked and Loaded' in First Live Batting Practice at Yankees Camp