New York Yankees: Luis Severino progressing towards summer ’21 return

Luis Severino could return to the New York Yankees starting rotation as early as June of next season.

If the New York Yankees expect to be World Series contenders in 2021, they are going to have some work to do when it comes to their starting rotation.

Luckily, Luis Severino, a two-time All-Star who has logged just 12 innings over the past two seasons due to Tommy John surgery, is progressing well in his rehab and on track to join New York’s starting rotation by as early as June of next year.

In a call with reporters on Wednesday, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman provided an update on Severino’s rehab, saying he is about three weeks into his throwing program and has been throwing from 90 feet.

The New York Yankees used nine different starting pitchers in 2020, a rotation that ranked eighth among major league clubs in terms of combined Wins Above Replacement (5.2). But looking forward, New York will likely need to be active in the free agent/trade market to fill out their 2021 rotation.

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Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ all become free agents in just a few days and it won’t be a surprise if all three are pitching in another uniform in 2021. According to recent reports, Tanaka may even be pitching in another country next season.

That leaves major question marks behind ace Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery as to who will fill out the rest of the rotation, pending any offseason moves.

However, the rise of Deivi Garcia is promising and you can never count the New York Yankees out of bringing in a major catch on the free agent market. A mid-season addition of Luis Severino is also comforting, slightly.

Severino fell just short of 200 innings in 2017 and 2018, going 19-8 with a 3.39 ERA and 220 strikeouts in 2018 before making just three starts in 2019. When healthy, the 26-year-old righty is one of the top starting pitchers in the game and few teams have a one-two punch at the top of their starting rotation as good as a healthy Cole and Severino.

But Severino has made just three starts over the last two seasons and even if he returns in June or July, it may take a while for him to settle back into his usual form. Fortunately for the Yankees, even if Severino doesn’t return until July, that gives him three solid months to prepare for the 2021 playoffs.

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It may be a bumpy ride to begin the 2021 season, but the return of Luis Severino is nearing and with him, more stability in the New York Yankees starting rotation.