Sports

Yankees hope Severino can give bullpen a boost

NEW YORK — Pitcher Luis Severino was activated by the New York Yankees before Monday’s series opener against Texas and is in position to make his first major league appearance in nearly two years.

“It’s been long enough,” Severino said. “Definitely be ready for any situation.”

Yankees manager Aaron Boone says he plans to use the two-time All-Star out of the bullpen. New York began the day 1½ games behind Toronto for the second American League wild-card spot.

“He could find himself in the highest-leverage situation or whatever and could evolve into a multi-inning role,” Boone said. “We feel like we got a really good pitcher we got to add to the mix today.”

The 27-year-old right-hander had Tommy John surgery on Feb. 27, 2020. He made four minor league appearances totaling 10⅔ innings for Tampa, Hudson Valley and Somerset, allowing four runs, five hits and one home run with three walks and 15 strikeouts.

“It will be like my first tenure here in 2015. It’ll be the same emotion,” Severino said. “But after I throw the first pitch, I think everything is going to come back like I used to be.”

His rehab was slowed when he injured his right groin on June 12 in his second minor league appearance, for Hudson Valley at Brooklyn. Severino returned to pitch for Somerset on Aug. 3 and Aug. 8, then was scratched from an Aug. 13 outing for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre because of shoulder tightness.

A 19-game winner in 2018, Severino signed a four-year, $40 million contract before the 2019 season. He was limited by shoulder soreness to three appearances in 2019, the first on Sept. 17 and the last on Sept. 28, plus a pair of postseason starts that Oct. 7 against Minnesota in the AL Division Series and Oct. 15 against Houston in the AL Championship Series.

“He’s worked on his changeup and I think adding kind of a cutter-and-a-slider hybrid to his repertoire,” Boone said.

Right-hander Sal Romano was released by the Yankees to open a roster spot.

Also, pitcher Domingo German (right shoulder inflammation) could be activated as soon as Tuesday and Jameson Taillon (right ankle tendon) could throw in a minor league game Wednesday.

In a pivotal stretch of the season, the Yankees are just 5-5 in their past 10 and have lost two in a row, while the Blue Jays and Red Sox have put a touch of distance between them and the rest of the field.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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