The New York Yankees have seen their pitching staff crash back to Earth the last few weeks, and now they'll have to wait a little longer for Luis Severino to join the rotation. On Tuesday, manager Aaron Boone announced Severino suffered a Grade 2 right groin strain during his minor league rehab start this past weekend, and the Yankees expect it to delay his return one month.
"He's already actually up and doing some things as far as on the treadmill and doing things like that. We're trying to keep him active probably will try to keep his arm going," Boone told reporters, including NJ.com's Brendan Kuty. "But we'll certainly probably hold his return back by about a month. We were hoping to obviously get him back by the end of this month. That'll obviously be on hold as he has to you know get that right over the next couple of weeks."
Severino, 27, had Tommy John surgery in March 2000 and recently started a minor league rehab assignment., then during his second outing Saturday, and exited in the second inning after grabbing at his groin. Severino couldn't put any weight on his right leg and had to be helped off the field. Here's the video:
"I think it's a little bit of just one of those things that can happen from time to time. There's nothing to my knowledge to this point that we've identified that mechanically he was out of whack," Boone told Kuty. "... So at this point it seems like it was a little bit of just a freak thing that can happen in the heat of competition, but obviously it's something that we'll tap into and try and continue to evaluate and hopefully put him in the best position to be to be healthy moving forward."
From 2017-18, Severino was among the best pitchers in baseball, throwing 348 2/3 innings with a 3.18 ERA and 9.5 WAR. He was an All-Star and received Cy Young votes both years. Injuries, including shoulder and lat issues in addition to Tommy John surgery, have limited him to 20 1/3 innings since 2019, postseason included. Severino last pitched in an MLB game in the 2019 postseason.
The Yankees come into Tuesday with a 33-32 record and a four-game deficit in the wild card race. They're averaging only 3.88 runs per game, fifth fewest in baseball, yet they've remained competitive thanks to a pitching staff that has allowed only 3.98 runs per game, the ninth fewest in baseball. Aside from Aaron Judge, just about everyone in the lineup is underperforming.
Lately though, the pitching has become a concern. New York has allowed at least five runs in eight of their last nine games after allowing at least five runs eight times in their previous 42 games. The Yankees had a 4.22 ERA over the last calendar month, which isn't bad, though the staff certainly hasn't been as good as it was earlier this year.
Corey Kluber is on the injured list with a shoulder strain and is not expected back until sometime around the All-Star break, if not later. Swingman Michael King stepped into the rotation when Kluber went down and was keeping the spot warm for Severino, and now he'll have to remain in the rotation a little while longer.