TAMPA — The encouragement regarding Luis Severino's recovery from Tommy John surgery continues to flow at Yankees camp this spring.
New York's bullpen coach Mike Harkey has watched plenty of bullpens from hurlers coming off that type of elbow surgery in his career. Watching Severino throw off a mound earlier this week was the "most comfortable" and "most aggressive" Harkey has ever seen a pitcher look while throwing their first 'pen after Tommy John.
"It looked like he had zero apprehension, zero worry about whether his surgically repaired elbow was sound," Harkey said in a Zoom call on Saturday. "He's still probably looking at 20, 30 more bullpens and a lot more live batting practices and then games so he's still a long way away. But very encouraging first one."
Severino climbed back onto a mound for the first time since the surgery on Tuesday, throwing 20 fastballs. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Thursday that Severino looked really good in his bullpen, adding that the ball was coming out of Severino's hand so well, that he and the other coaches watching had to tell the right-hander to "back off a little bit."
Severino is expected to rejoin the big-league club at some point later this summer. As Harkey alluded to, the right-hander still has a long way to go before he's ready to pitch in a regular season game in pinstripes.
That said, it's Severino's hard work over the last full year, rehabbing from injury, that's putting the right-hander in the position to look this good this early on in his recovery.
"He's worked his tail off to get to this point," Harkey said. "Having been through a series of serious injuries and rehabbing for months in a year, it takes a toll on your mind and definitely takes a toll on your body, but it also gives you a chance that if you dig into it, you can do things now to your body that you weren't able to do when you were healthy because you have that extra time and I think when he does come back, I think he's going to be much stronger."
Severino received votes for the American League Cy Young Award in both 2017 and 2018 before he was sidelined for much of the 2019 season with a shoulder injury. It was just about one year ago during spring training that New York's starter learned he needed Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.
If Severino is able to come back as an even better pitcher later this year—as he's hinted at this spring—New York's starting rotation could end up being one of the best in all of Major League Baseball.
- 'That's Gross': Aroldis Chapman Continues to Incorporate 'Disgusting' Splitter This Spring
- Brett Gardner's Role as the Yankees' Fourth Outfielder is Taking Shape
- Lucas Luetge's Spectacular Spring Could Earn Him an Opening Day Roster Spot