Yankees’ Gio Urshela passes key test in return from elbow surgery



TAMPA — Gio Urshela finally got into a game Thursday to see how his elbow would fare in his first live action since having surgery on it exactly three months ago.

The Yankees’ third baseman only got a brief test, but so far, so good.

“I felt really good,” Urshela said after playing three innings — and making just one throw, from the shortstop spot on a shift — during the Yankees’ 15-0 loss to the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla. “I felt 100 percent.”

Urshela had surgery Dec. 4 to remove a bone chip from his right elbow, after battling through it during the latter part of last season. He had been building up his strength in camp before making his spring debut Thursday. The 2019 breakout star went 0-for-2 at the plate, lining out to center field and striking out.

“It was just good to see him out there,” said bench and infield coach Carlos Mendoza, who is managing in Aaron Boone’s absence.

Gio Urshela
Gio Urshela
Getty Images

Mendoza said he could tell two to three weeks before camp officially started that Urshela would be good to go, after watching him at the Yankees’ player development complex. He said the most important thing was seeing Urshela throw from multiple angles.

“Not only playing catch with him, but when we went out there and he started throwing to bases, I knew right away he was fine,” Mendoza said. “He wasn’t favoring anything, the arm action was good, he was clean, the arm speed was there.”

After getting hit on the lat with a 96 mph fastball Wednesday night, Aaron Judge looked no worse for wear Thursday. He was among the starters who stayed in Tampa to take batting practice.

Gary Sanchez, who crushed his second home run in as many games Wednesday, took extra batting practice Thursday, staying on the field late with prospect Oswald Peraza to hit curveballs from the pitching machine.

Luis Cessa, who missed the start of spring training 2.0 last year after testing positive for COVID-19, said he is feeling “100 percent.” The reliever said he also improved his diet over the offseason, thanks to his girlfriend.

“She’s a vegetarian, so I ate more salad, more salmon, more fish,” Cessa said after giving up a run in an inning Wednesday in his spring debut. “I tried to stay away from the carbs. Normally for the Mexican food, it’s tortillas, bread and all that. The food is all good, but it’s bad for your body. So I just tried to stay away from that.”

Speaking about the Yankees’ rotation, Cessa said Luis Severino was “almost ready to throw a side [session].”

Severino, who had Tommy John surgery in February 2020, had recently begun throwing four days a week. Boone said on Feb. 18 that Severino should be throwing off a mound in the “next couple of weeks.”


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