TAMPA — Luis Severino threw off a mound for the first time on Tuesday since undergoing Tommy John surgery just over a year ago.
Aaron Boone said he watched the 20-pitch session at the team’s Player Development Complex and liked what he saw, saying the right-hander “looked great. He was efficient and throwing it exactly where he wanted it.”
Severino is expected back in “mid-to-late summer,” according to general manager Brian Cashman, and Boone said he’s still on schedule.
“It was a lot of fun for me to get over there Tuesday morning to be there and see that first one, just to see how he was moving around,” Boone said Thursday of the bullpen, during which Severino only threw fastballs. “There’s a confidence he’s exuding in his health, just watching him play catch and the kind of shape he’s in and the free and easy way in which he’s throwing.”
Severino, 27, looked so strong that Boone said they considered having him back off.
“He was coming out hot,” Boone said of the session. “We almost said, ‘Hey, back off a little bit, it’s coming out a little bit too well.’ And he wasn’t working for it. I’m really encouraged about where he’s at at this point.”
The next step will be for Severino to mix in breaking balls, which is where he felt discomfort before the surgery.
It’s been a long time since Severino has had a stretch of good health.
Since signing a four-year, $40 million extension just over two years ago, the right-hander has dealt with a rotator cuff injury and a strained lat that cost him most of the 2019 season.
In February 2020, Severino underwent surgery to repair his UCL and remove a bone spur from his right elbow.
If he can return to the rotation around the All-Star break, it would give the Yankees a boost for the second half, as long as Severino returns to the form that made him one of the AL’s top starters in 2017 and 2018.
“The last several weeks, he’s been chomping on the bit to get on the mound because he felt ready to do that,” Boone said.