Luis Severino will make his first major league start since July 13 on Wednesday, but the Yankees right-hander was already thinking beyond his return on Tuesday evening.
Severino has been on the 60-day injured list – much longer than he would have liked – with a low-grade right lat strain. But after three minor league rehab outings, the 28-year-old is set to start against the Pirates at Yankee Stadium.
"I feel very good,” Severino said Tuesday. “I feel better than before."
Severino was enjoying a successful season before his prolonged absence after totaling just 18 regular-season innings from 2019-2021, including a few relief appearances last year. This season marked Severino’s return to the rotation; he’s coming off the I.L. with a 3.45 ERA and 95 strikeouts over 16 starts and 86 innings.
Severino said he plans on throwing about 65 pitches against Pittsburgh, and he hopes to make three starts before the playoffs. Asked if he has enough time to build up, Severino said, “Of course.” Ideally, he’ll increase his pitch count by 10-15 pitches each time out so that he can tally 90-100 by the time October rolls around.
Not that he expects to be pitching that deep into games next month.
"You know how the postseason is. If you've got two guys on base, somebody's warming up already. So it's not like I'm going to throw 100 pitches," Severino said, though he hopes he'll be able to if necessary.
Severino wasn’t exactly thrilled when the Yankees transferred him to the 60-day I.L. at the start of August. New York initially placed him on the 15-day I.L. in mid-July but made the switch prior to the trade deadline amid a flurry of roster moves. Severino said at the time that he was no longer feeling discomfort in his lat, but the transfer meant he couldn’t rejoin the Yankees until the middle of September.
Whether he liked it or not, the delay gave Severino a bit of a breather after missing so much time the last few years and throwing a notable number of innings this season. Now the stretch run is here, and he’s eager to get back to work.
"I mean, I was resting for 60 days,” Severino said. “I'm fresh now."
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