Luis Severino will miss the season with an elbow injury that requires Tommy John surgery, and the New York Yankees’ rotation no longer looks all that imposing.
New York announced Tuesday that the 26-year-old right-hander has a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament, a development that means the two-time all-star will miss all of 2020 after being sidelined for nearly all of 2019.
Left-hander James Paxton already was projected to miss the first two months of the season after back surgery on Feb. 5. Domingo German must serve the final 63 games of an 81-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy. He is eligible to return June 5, barring any postponements.
Severino’s injury leaves the AL East favourites with a rotation of newly signed ace Gerrit Cole, Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ and two openings. The usual recovery time for Tommy John surgery is a year or more.
“I don’t want to sugarcoat the fact that being without Sevy, that’s a blow, but it doesn’t change our expectations and what we’re truly capable of,” manager Aaron Boone said. “So, no, nothing changes.”
Lefty Jordan Montgomery, who came back in September from Tommy John surgery, has been throwing at up to 94 miles an hour and is the leading candidate for one slot. Jonathan Loaisiga and rookies Deivi Garcia and Michael King are possibilities along with Luis Cessa.
“We’re always constantly looking for upgrades anyway,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “But this time of year you always look from within and see and give opportunities for what you have and typically that’s how it shakes out, especially until after the June draft regardless, so you keep relying on depth. So wouldn’t say expect any domino effect or cause and effect in terms of us being able to go to marketplace where a marketplace this time of year typically doesn’t exist.”
New York won the AL East with a 103-59 record last year, its best in a decade, and lost to Houston in the AL Championship Series.
Severino went 19-8 with a 3.39 ERA in 2018 and was given a US$40-million, four-year contract. He was scratched from his first scheduled spring training appearance on March 5 because of rotator cuff inflammation in his right shoulder. The Yankees said April 9 he had strained his latissimus dorsi muscle. He did not make a minor league injury rehabilitation appearance until Sept. 1 and did not make his first appearance for the Yankees until Sept. 17.
Severino was 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA over 12 innings in three regular-season starts for New York, then was 0-1 with a 2.16 ERA over 8 1/3 innings in a pair of postseason outings.
Boone said Severino first felt the soreness in the days after his Game 3 start in the ALCS.
Severino had an MRI in New York in early December and was cleared to start his throwing program. He experienced discomfort while throwing his changeup on flat ground during January in the Dominican Republic. Severino returned to New York, and another MRI and CT scan were negative.
“My gut is it’s something that dates back to when he started feeling something,” Cashman said. “In terms of the declaration of the injury, with the physical testing upon the MRIs and where his complaints were, it didn’t reveal itself. But now as of yesterday for the first time, the physical testing points to the area on the MRI arthogram that shows a problem. The prior MRIs had no problem and the point of injury was not around the ligament. ”
Notes: RF Aaron Judge could be ready to play in his first spring training game next week after being limited by right shoulder soreness. “I would say no playing for sure this week,” Boone said. Judge has increased his throwing to 120 feet and is hitting off a tee and taking soft toss in an indoor cage. Judge first experienced the shoulder soreness during early workouts at the Yankees minor complex and was shut down from hitting a week spring training started. ... SS Gleyber Torres agreed to a one-year contract that pays $675,600 while in the major leagues and $302,500 in the unlikely event he is sent to the minors.