TORONTO -- The cavalry has arrived, or so hope the oft-injured New York Yankees, whose presumed top starting pitcher, Luis Severino, rejoined the team on the road ahead of his season debut.
Severino, 25, is scheduled to make his first major league start of 2019 against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday after spending most of the season on the injured list because of injuries to his right rotator cuff and lat muscle.
"I am very excited about that. It's been a long wait, but it happened. I'm happy that I'm healthy and I'm going to be able to help my team," Severino said Friday ahead of the first game of a three-game set against theToronto Blue Jays. "The guys here have done a good job all year. Being back at this time means a lot to me. A lot of guys have been working hard all year, so I only have to do my part."
The right-hander made two rehab starts in the minors -- a 33-pitch outing that lasted an inning and a 64-pitch outing over 3 innings -- before rejoining the team in Toronto to play catch with his teammates and throw a side session in the bullpen ahead of Tuesday's start.
The Yankees hope to build his pitch count and arm strength down the stretch to have him as a significant contributor as they continue to battle the Houston Astros for the best record in the majors. Severino's last major league start was in the 2018 American League Division Series, when he gave up six runs in three innings of a 16-1 loss to theBoston Red Soxin Game 3.
In terms of what pitcher Yankees fans would see against the Angels on Tuesday, Severino was hopeful that Tuesday's start would give fans a glimpse of the pitcher who went 19-8 with a 3.39 ERA in 191 innings over 32 starts last season.
"The same guy that they've been watching all the past years. Electric guy. I'm going to attack hitters and try to do my best to win games," he said. "I'm looking forward to that day. I'm just excited to be back."
Severino is expected to ramp up to 75 pitches as the Yankees figure out what they will get from their de facto ace heading into the playoffs.
"This is a guy that's the last couple of years, obviously, has been in the Cy Young conversation. This is a guy that's a potential ace," manager Aaron Boone said. "This is a guy that's not only important in the short term to us but our long-term planning. A pitcher with his ability and his track record already, a guy we feel like is going to anchor our rotation for a long time."
After their most recent injury news, with J.A. Happ suffering from biceps tendinitis and unknown return dates for catcher Gary Sanchez after a left groin strain and an internal left oblique strain forEdwin Encarnacion, Boone was glad to be able add a healthy arm to what has been an unreliable starting rotation all season.
"You miss those kind of big innings, big outings a guy like that can give you and how he affects the rest of the staff as well," Boone said. "But we've missed another great pitcher capable of matching up with other great pitchers around the league."
Severino: Expect same 'electric guy' in '19 debut