Luis Severino will soon pitch in his first big-league game since the 2019 postseason after being reinstated on Monday.
The Yankees’ right-hander missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in February 2020. His road to recovery was impeded on multiple occasions this year, as a strained groin and right shoulder tightness created setbacks. At times, it looked as if a second consecutive season would be lost.
Now, however, Severino is back in pinstripes with the Yankees about to begin a series against Texas. He’s naturally excited after a grueling rehab.
“It feels pretty good. It’s been long enough,” Severino said before Monday’s game. “I was happy. I had a little doubt – I didn’t know if it was gonna be today or tomorrow. But when I saw the lineup card, I was happy.”
Severino’s manager, Aaron Boone, echoed similar sentiments in his pregame presser.
“It’s been a long road for him. He’s gotten close here over the last couple months a few times,” Boone said. “Just knowing how hard he’s worked over the last two years to get to this point, I know he’s really excited to be back. We’re excited to have a really good pitcher in the mix.”
Severino has pitched in just three regular season games since 2019, and he is not stretched out to be a starter. However, the Yankees, fighting for their playoff lives, hope the 27-year-old can bring his past dominance to the bullpen in a variety of ways.
A top-three Cy Young finisher in 2017, Severino last pitched in relief in 2016, another campaign hindered by injuries.
“Sevy could be in a lot of different roles,” Boone said. “We’d love to get him in here one of these first couple days just to get him going and started, but we’re down to 12 games and obviously, we know how important these games are. So he could find himself in the highest leverage situation or [it] could evolve into a multi-inning role.”
Severino said his previous bullpen experience will benefit him this time around when it comes to things such as his warm-up routine and entering mid-game. It’s been a while since he has pitched in front of big crowds and to major league hitters, though. Severino is confident that it won’t take long to readjust – even if his next appearance feels like his debut.
“It’ll be like my first game here in 2015,” he said. “It’ll be the same emotions. But after I throw the first pitch, I think everything’s gonna come back.”