3:52pm ET: Severino has rotator cuff inflammation, Boone said following this afternoon’s game. He’ll receive an injection and anti-inflammatory medication, and will be shut down two weeks. “The MRI looked pretty good … Sounds like shoulder is pretty clean,” Boone said. That’s a relief. Still, Severino being shut down two weeks means he is “highly unlikely” to be ready for Opening Day, Boone said.
2:25pm ET: During the in-game interview on YES, Aaron Boone said Severino felt something toward the back of his shoulder, near his lat, while warming up. Tests are scheduled for later today and Boone didn’t have anything more to add.
1:11pm ET: Well, so much for the Yankees staying healthy in Spring Training. Luis Severino was a late scratch from this afternoon’s scheduled Grapefruit League debut with right shoulder discomfort, the Yankees announced. He will be further evaluated this afternoon. Severino did warm up before the game, so it was a very late scratch.
The Yankees brought Severino along slowly this spring after his big workload the last two years (407.2 innings), and after Severino admitted he was fatigued down the stretch late last year. “When you are at the finish line and you feel like you need a little bit more than five days to be ready, you know that something’s going on,” he said a few weeks ago.
Severino is the Yankees best pitcher and he’s one of the best young pitchers in the game, plus the Yankees just gave him a four-year extension, so of course they’re going to play it safe with him. I have to think the slightest twinge would’ve resulted in a scratch and an evaluation. Whatever this is, hopefully it’s minor.
CC Sabathia will not be ready for Opening Day as he works his way back from offseason knee and heart surgery, so the Yankees are already down one projected starter. Severino not being able to make the ceremonial Opening Day start is no big deal. Missing an extended period of time would be devastating though. He is a true difference-maker.
Dallas Keuchel remains a free agent and speculation about a match with the Yankees is inevitable. I think it’s way too premature for that. First, let’s see what the tests say about Severino. Second, would the Yankees be okay with a big payroll addition like that? Keuchel would undoubtedly push them into the second luxury tax tier and result in stiffer penalties.
Jon Heyman says the Yankees have had Gio Gonzalez on their radar throughout the offseason, and my guess is the Yankees would go for a lower cost fill-in starter like him than Keuchel should they bring someone in. After Keuchel and Gonzalez, the best free agent starter is probably James Shields. Yeesh.