TRENTON — Luis Severino says he’s ready to rejoin the Yankees’ rotation.
Wednesday night’s start at Arm & Hammer Park may have been the final step in his rehab process before potentially rejoining the Yankees after the team returns to The Bronx to face the Angels next week.
“I feel good, I feel very good,” Severino said of his performance in Double-A Trenton’s 7-1 loss in Game 2 of the Eastern League Championship Series.
“The first inning is a little tough for me, but after that my arm feels very loose.”
In his third rehab appearance, Severino allowed one earned run on five hits while striking out four in 3²/₃ innings. The Thunder trailed 4-1 when he was removed from the game, though two fielding errors in the third inning were partially to blame for the inflated score.
The two-time All-Star had his fastball hovering around 97 mph, even reaching 98 mph twice. The Yankees had wanted Severino to throw between 60-65 pitches, prompting his exit in the fourth inning after throwing 64 pitches. He threw 47 strikes and one wild pitch.
Severino said he felt like he could have gone beyond his allotted pitch count, but thought this was his best outing yet. He said he expects to return to the Yankees in his usual role as a starter, rather than coming out of the bullpen.
Severino, who signed a four-year, $40 million contract extension in the offseason, has been sidelined the entire season, suffering from rotator cuff inflammation before a significant lat strain prolonged his stay on the injured list.
Severino has previously thrown for the Thunder on Friday, allowing four hits and consistently clocking in at 97 mph on the radar gun. Throwing 33 of his 44 pitches for strikes, the right-hander looked solid and Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters in Boston ove the weekend that Severino “demonstrated enough to be an option.”
In his first rehab start on Sept. 1 with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Severino allowed two runs on three hits over three innings.
The Yankees neglected to make any additions to their starting rotation or bullpen before the July 31 deadline with the hopes Severino — and Dellin Betances (shoulder) — would be available for a playoff run.
Betances pitched for Trenton on Tuesday, the first game of the championship series, and is right behind Severino in his recovery.
“We’re going straight to the postseason,” Severino said. “We have a great team and we have to compete. We have to compete on a [maximum] level and I have to go there and I think I’ll have three outings before the postseason, so I need to get my stuff going quickly to be 100 percent ready to fight in the playoffs.”
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