Luis Severino ready to commit his career to pinstripes, wants a big 2023 season

Luis Severino with CC Sabathia during the Yankees 2023 spring training camp.

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TAMPA, Fla. — Five springs ago, when the Yankees got right-handed pitcher Luis Severino to sign a new contract a week before he turned 25, the deal seemed like a no-brainer. There was a lot of excitement because one of the most exciting starting pitchers in the American League was staying put for the foreseeable future. He had just been to back-to-back All-Star games.

Neither side expected the agreement to work out the way it has, and now they are at a very important point. The 2023 season may be Luis Severino’s last chance to show that he can get back to that level of pitching for an entire season. Because of this, he is putting all of his efforts into getting ready for a healthy season.

“This is the only team, the only family that I know,” Luis Severino said. “Of course, I want to spend the rest of my life wearing this uniform. It’s going to be a negotiation; it’s going to be part of the game. You go to free agency, there’s going to be more teams [involved], but of course, I want to finish my career here.”

On Monday night, Luis Severino made his first appearance in the Grapefruit League. He worked two and a half innings as the Yankees beat the Tigers 8-5 at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Even though Luis Severino gave up four runs and three hits, including a long home run by Eric Haase that hit the center-field batter in the eye, the pitcher said it was mostly because of a “terrible” slider.

The most important thing for Luis Severino to take away from the game is his satisfaction. He admitted that was able to pitch hard to the batters and enjoyed a sense of feeling strong during the game. This happened to him after many seasons.

When he was on, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said, “He can shut down a really good offense.”

Luis Severino notched 30 strikes and 27 fastballs among his 45 pitches. Those fastballs averaged 96 mph and reached 97.7 mph. This is the kind of performance that made Gerrit Cole say that Luis Severino has “some wild-horse qualities” and “a lot of horsepowers.”

“I wasn’t even trying to throw that hard,” said Luis Severino, who attributes an energy boost to an improved diet that helped him shed 15 pounds this offseason. “I was just trying to make a couple of pitches. It feels really good to know that I’m up there [velocity-wise].”

In February 2019, Luis Severino agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract extension that included a club option for the 2023 season. This seemed to be a smart move for both sides. But Severino had injury problems almost right away. He had inflammation in his right rotator cuff and a lat strain that year, and in the spring of 2020, he had Tommy John surgery.

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The recovery from that surgery and a groin injury that followed kept him out of action for most of ’21. Even though he missed most of last season because of a lat strain, Luis Severino was still able to go 7-3 with a 3.18 ERA in 19 regular season starts.

“Even though he had a pause in the middle of the season with the injury, he still got over 100 innings, which I think is important moving forward this year,” Boone said. “Hopefully, he can have that full season where he puts it all together. I feel like he’s in a position to do that. I feel like mentally, physically, everything’s in position for that to happen.”

Luis Severino relishes the strongest Yankees rotation

When Luis Severino asked the Yankees to let him play for his country in the World Baseball Classic, he was not permitted. The decision was defended by Brian Cashman, who told, “We’ve lost him too many times along the road. We can’t afford to lose him.”

Luis Severino didn’t like that, but he got it. He said, “I get it.” “I want to be in that place. I’d like to pitch innings.”

Luis Severino thinks that the starting rotation that included Cole, Carlos Rodón, and Nestor Cortes is “the most powerful rotation I’ve ever been in.”

He really wants to be a part of this group now, for the rest of the season, and in the future.

“If we can all stay healthy for a whole year, it will be incredible to see,” Severino said.

What do you think about Luis Severino in 2023? Leave your comment below.

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