Yankees’ Luis Severino eager to take on contract-year challenge

TAMPA — Luis Severino misses the rice.

But if the end result of his offseason diet is staying healthy and being on the mound for a full season to help the Yankees chase a title, the right-hander will take that trade. Plus, his personal chef has made the substitute for rice not so bad.

“He makes quinoa, quinoa salad, something called couscous — I don’t know what the heck it is, but it’s actually really good,” Severino said Wednesday before a workout at Steinbrenner Field.

“It’s tough,” he added, “but if you have a goal, you have to sacrifice.”

The improved diet was part of Severino’s offseason plan. Combined with his workouts, it has resulted in him dropping about 15 pounds as he entered spring training. He said he would have had the same offseason drive even if he weren’t entering the final year of his contract, but because he is, it’s critical to have his first healthy season since 2018.

Luis Severino at Yankees spring training
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

“My focus always is to be good,” he said. “The only thing in front of me from doing that is being healthy all year. I know the kind of pitcher that I am when I’m healthy and I know the kind of pitcher I can be. I just want to be healthy all year and do the same job I’ve been doing.”

After Severino made just three starts from 2019-2021 because of various injuries, including Tommy John surgery, he put together a solid bounce-back season last year in which he posted a 3.18 ERA with 112 strikeouts over 102 innings. But he was still limited to 19 starts because of a stint on the 60-day injured list. He was upset with that at the time, believing he did not need anything more than the 15-day IL for his strained right lat.

Still, Severino called it “an encouraging year,” and the Yankees agreed, picking up his $15 million option for 2023. But even more money is on the line this year for Severino, 29, who might look to the four-year, $72 million deal Taijaun Walker got from the Phillies this winter as a comparable contract if he can stay healthy this season.

Luis Severino works out at Yankees spring training
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Luis Severino
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

To Severino’s knowledge, the Yankees have not yet broached the idea of an extension, but he said he would love to remain in pinstripes for the rest of his career.

“The only thing for me on the line [this year] is winning the World Series,” Severino said. “That’s the main goal for me. Regardless of what happens, if I’m healthy, I’m going to make money. So I just need to focus on the main goal and the main goal for the whole team is winning a championship.”

If the Yankees accomplish that goal, it will likely be thanks in large part to their stacked rotation, the top of which was on full display Wednesday. Severino, Gerrit Cole and Carlos Rodon each threw two innings of live batting practice and flashed their overpowering potential while facing the top half of the Yankees’ starting lineup.

“Sevy looks fresh,” Cole said. “Got some like, wild-horse characteristics to him. He’s got a lot of horsepower right now.”

Perhaps his offseason is responsible for that. Severino wasn’t necessarily trying to lose weight, he said, but was “just eating healthy and working a little harder than years before.” He has noticed the difference early in camp, feeling more energy when he wakes up and capable of taking on more work.

Severino had hoped to do that in the World Baseball Classic next month, representing the Dominican Republic, but the Yankees did not give him permission because of his injury history.

“I knew it was not going to be easy to convince the Yankees to go there,” he said. “But they had their reasons. It was a valid reason that they told me not to go. I know they had a main goal, which is keeping me healthy the whole year.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *