Key injury in rotation leaves Yankees scrambling before season even starts

John Tomase
March 06, 2019 - 3:34 pm

The season hasn't even started yet, and the Yankees are already losing ground to the Red Sox.

On Tuesday, ace Luis Severino felt something grab in his shoulder while throwing a slider during warmups before a start against the Braves. The Yankees effectively shut him down on the spot, and he'll miss his opening day start against the Orioles on March 28.

On Wednesday, Severino addressed the injury with Yankees reporters in Tampa, including Pete Caldera of

"I knew something was wrong, so I stopped," the Yankees right-hander said. "Better now than later. I mean, we were concerned, but better it happened now than during the season. I think it's something that we can treat now and move forward to the season and be able to pitch."

Severino signed a four-year, $40 million extension this winter that felt below-market, but now looks like a wise hedge against injury after he went 5-6 with a 5.57 ERA in the second half last year.

He had thrown a simulated game without pain before Tuesday's warmup, but tests on his shoulder revealed inflammation in his rotator cuff. The Yankees will shut him down for two weeks before he can resume playing catch. He'll almost certainly open the season on the disabled list.

"I want to be there for the first game, so it's going to be tough for a little bit," Severino said. "But like I said, it's better to happen now than in midseason or at the end of the season. God has a plan for everybody. It's better now than later."

Without Severino, who won 19 games last year, the Yankees will be stretched thin in the rotation. Left-hander James Paxton, acquired from the Mariners this winter, will likely get the start on opening day, followed by veteran Masahiro Tanaka, left-hander J.A. Happ, and lefty CC Sabathia, who has already announced this will be his final season.