The past six days have been tough for Luis Severino. The former Yankees ace was supposed to make a rehab start in Triple-A Scranton last Friday, but something “didn’t feel right,” and he was scratched with shoulder tightness. It seemed like he was on the brink of finally returning to the team post-Tommy John surgery for the first time since the 2019 postseason, but it was yet another hitch in the road.
Severino has seen multiple specialists over the past week, and the Yankees waited to announce his MRI results until he had fully consulted with them. Prior to their Thursday night game against the Twins, manager Aaron Boone revealed that the MRI showed “no structural damage” in Severino’s right shoulder. The team will keep him shut down through the rest of the week and monitor his progress “day-by-day.”
Given how drawn-out the wait was to learn about the injury, this has to be considered a best-case scenario. If Severino had needed any kind of shoulder surgery, that would have been devastating to not only his 2021 season, but also his career after all the time off already and more major surgery. He’s still only 27, but the longer he goes without pitching on a big league mound, the more of a risk he’s going to be in the future.
We’re quickly coming up on the end of August. If Severino remains shut down or at least relatively inactive, it would probably be a long shot for him to recover in time for the Yankees to count on him for starts at the end of the season. If all goes well, maybe there could be a bullpen role for him, and then they can focus on 2022. The most likely outcome is that we won’t see Severino until 2022, but again, at least his shoulder is structurally sound.
There is still hope yet that we’ll see Severino pitch in pinstripes again before his extension expires at the end of the 2022 campaign. It may be a fool’s hope, but it’s hope nonetheless.