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Luis Severino frustrated by Yankees slow-playing injury return

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Luis Severino is ready to finally start his rehab assignment this week.

Then again, he felt ready last week, too, before the Yankees changed their mind on starting his rehab clock and had him throw another simulated game on Friday in Tampa instead.

“I think it was unnecessary not to throw in Low-A, but I do whatever they tell me to do,” Severino said Sunday morning at Tropicana Field. “But I feel good.”

Severino was in a good mood, smiling with some jokes at the ready while speaking with reporters about his recovery from the strained lat he sustained in the final week of spring training.

But it was clear he was frustrated with how the Yankees have slow-played his return.

A few days after the injury happened in late March, Severino said he hoped to only miss three or four starts, a timeline that the Yankees initially seemed to be in line with.

Instead, Severino will have missed at least nine or 10 starts by the time he returns in late May, if everything continues to go as planned.

Manager Aaron Boone had said the Yankees opted to have Severino throw another simulated game on Friday in order to have a more controllable environment.

Yankees pitcher Luis Severino has been out with a lat injury.
Charles Wenzelberg/NY Post

Asked if they explained to him why that wasn’t a rehab start instead, Severino said with a grin, “They tried to, but whatever.”

“At the end, if I’m the only one who wants something and they don’t agree with that, they’re not going to let me do something,” Severino said. “But hopefully, for now on, they trust me more and try to let me compete more.”

The plan now is for Severino to begin his rehab assignment on Wednesday with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre — though the right-hander said he would prefer Thursday because the Wednesday game is an 11:05 a.m. start and he does not want to spend the night before in Scranton or drive in early that morning.

Yankees starter Luis Severino pitching during spring training.
Yankees starter Luis Severino pitching during spring training.

Severino hopes to only need two rehab starts, which Boone said would be the minimum, before rejoining the Yankees rotation.

He threw 40 pitches in Friday’s sim game and is in line to throw around 50 in his first rehab start — “or 41,” Severino cracked.

On a more serious note, the right-hander said he would get more out of a rehab start than a sim game because he needs to get used to the pitch timer again and face hitters who are closer to the major leagues.

Boone said that Severino’s extensive injury history — including a lat strain last season that ultimately landed him on the 60-day IL, a move with which Severino was openly unhappy — plays “a little bit of a role” in the Yankees handling his rehab cautiously.

“But it’s also an approach of building starting pitchers up conservatively and understanding that those pitches, whether it’s between 40 and 60 and 70, are the times you gotta be mindful,” Boone said. “When you make big jumps, history will tell you those are the times that pitchers can be a little more vulnerable to injuries.

“The bottom line is we want a healthy Luis Severino back in our rotation impacting us. We’re all looking forward to that.”

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