TAMPA — Before being examined by Yankees doctor Chris Ahmad on Friday, Luis Severino didn’t know how long he will be shut down due to soreness in the right forearm.
“Not sure yet,’’ a disappointed Severino said when asked how much time he will be away from the mound. “I am going to see the doc and see what the plan is.’’
Two offseason MRI exams and a CT scan didn’t unearth structural damage in Severino’s valuable right arm, which didn’t feel right after he threw changeups. Wednesday night he felt something in the area and was scratched from a live bullpen session on Thursday.
It is the second consecutive spring training that Severino, 26, has been sidelined. A year ago, he was diagnosed with an inflamed right rotator cuff. While rehabbing that injury, Severino strained a lat muscle. Those problems resulted in Severino making just three September starts and two in the postseason. Despite feeling soreness after Game 3 of the ALCS against the Astros, who copped a 4-1 win, Severino checked out fine and would have been Aaron Boone’s Game 7 starter had the Yankees forced a winner-goes-to-the-World Series finale.
“It’s strange to hear this stuff again,’’ Severino said at his Steinbrenner Field locker Friday morning. “We are dealing with it and seeing what we can do.’’
With the season beginning March 26 against the Orioles in Baltimore, there is enough time for Severino to be ready and be in the rotation if the problem isn’t serious. However, the location of the soreness — below the elbow toward the outside of the forearm — is a concern even though it’s not in the more worrisome inside of the joint.
Puzzling to Severino is that the soreness doesn’t surface after he throws fastballs and sliders, just when he tosses a changeup.
“It’s below the elbow where the muscle touches the bone, a weird spot,’’ Severino said. “I feel like after you throw nine innings soreness. Later on it goes away. (Friday) I feel way better than (Thursday).”
When discussing Severino’s situation, GM Brian Cashman and Boone mentioned there was a loose body in Severino’s arm that didn’t cause problems. Asked about that Friday, Severino said he didn’t believe that was related to the soreness.
“They told me that was not the issue,’’ Severino said. “If it was the issue I couldn’t throw my fastball. Ninety percent of pitchers have this thing. For me it is not an issue.’’
After last season, the first of a four-year deal for $40 million, Severino was asked if he is frustrated.
“I just want to pitch. I am doing all the things they want me to do in the off-season to come here healthy,” Severino said. “I felt good until (Thursday). I was watching TV and something wasn’t right. It is stuff that happens and you have to deal with it.’’
Should Severino join James Paxton (back surgery) and be unable to start the season, the Yankees would be looking for two rotation replacements from the group of Jordan Montgomery, Mike King, Luis Cessa and Deivi Garcia.