Luis Severino is on the verge of rejoining the Yankees for the first time this season.
The right-hander has been working back from the injured list since he underwent Tommy John surgery last spring, suffering multiple setbacks along the way that elongated his rehab process.
In fact, Severino hasn't pitched in pinstripes since Game 3 of the 2019 American League Championship Series on October 15. That's over 700 days ago.
When Severino officially returns—a move that could be made as early as Monday, per manager Aaron Boone—New York won't be getting back the same pitcher that was once the ace of the staff in the Bronx.
For the rest of this season, Severino is expected to be an option out of the bullpen, unable to ramp up to a starter's workload before the conclusion of the regular season.
"Kind of view him as anything from an inning in some situations to possibly two or three inning scenarios that I think he'll be able to handle," Boone explained over the weekend.
Severino reached his peak prior to the 2019 season, making consecutive All-Star Games while earning AL Cy Young Award votes during both the 2017 and 2018 campaigns.
Surely the Yankees are hopeful Severino can return to that kind of dominance (and durability) beginning next year. After all, pairing a healthy Severino with Gerrit Cole has the potential to be a potent combination at the top of the starting rotation going forward. With less than two weeks to go in the regular season, and injuries plaguing this club's pitching staff, the right-hander's services will be limited to the 'pen.
Asked if Severino could potentially work as an opener over the next few weeks, starting a game and only pitching a few innings, Boone said he'll never rule anything out. With the rotation nearly at full strength, there's less of a need for starters right now, though.
"Hopefully moving forward, we've got our four or five starters that obviously have been pitching in the rotation and we feel good about," Boone said. "I guess you get down towards the end and you get into a playoff scenario, anything's possible. But first things first is getting him back in and getting him in a big league game at some point."
Right-handers Domingo Germán and Jameson Taillon are both inching closer to their respective returns from the injured list as well.
With a postseason spot slipping away, and only 12 games to go, it'll be all hands on deck until Game 162. If he can stay healthy, Severino could certainly serve as a spark to help get this team to where they want to go.
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