The Yankees topped Philadelphia 6-1 in Clearwater earlier today. Aaron Hicks homered, Gerrit Cole was dealing, and everyone’s favorite non-roster invitee Lucas Luetge did his thing again. Here’s Hicks’s excuse-me-wind-aided dinger:
More on the game in a bit, but first, some important rehab news.
The Big Story: Luis Severino
As anticipated, Luis Severino threw off a mound this week. It’s the first time he’s been on the bump since he underwent Tommy John surgery last February. This session happened Tuesday, though it wasn’t public knowledge until today.
Sevy threw 20 pitches, all fastballs, and it went well according to Aaron Boone:
“It was a lot of fun for me to get over there on Tuesday morning to be there to see that first one and just to see how he’s moving around,” Boone said before Thursday’s exhibition against Philadelphia in Clearwater.
“There’s just a confidence in that he’s kind of exuding in his health, just watching him play catch, the way his body is, the kind of shape he’s in and the free and easy way in which he’s throwing,” Boone said. “He was really efficient the other day — it really kind of throwing it exactly where he wanted. He was coming out hot. We almost said, ‘Hey, back off a little bit. It’s coming out a little too well.’ And he wasn’t working for it necessarily. So really encouraged about where he’s at to this point.”
Obviously, it’s great to hear that Severino looked great and came away from this step healthy. If all goes well, Sevy will be a huge boost to the Yankees’ rotation in the second half of the season. And I know, I know: you’re not going to like hearing Brian Cashman say that he’s the best acquisition the team could make when the trade deadline comes around. But honestly, will he really be wrong about that?
There’s still a long way for Severino to go, of course. He needs to start mixing in breaking balls, face hitters, build up arm strength, etc. But every step he takes without an issue is a big plus.
- Rob Manfred’s never ending quest to resolve his pace of play concerns will continue with experiments in the minor leagues this season. As you’ll find below, each minor league level will try out varying rule changes, including defensive positioning limitations and pickoff rules.
A variety of experimental playing rules, which have been approved by the Competition Committee and the Playing Rules Committee, will be tested at various levels of the Minor Leagues during the upcoming 2021 season. pic.twitter.com/1aQMbgWHqp— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) March 11, 2021
- Robinson Chirinos has a fractured right wrist (YankeesPR). He was hit by a pitch in last night’s game and immediately removed. The next steps are to be determined, but he’s going to be out for a while. This is a pretty big blow to the Yankees’ catching depth in camp, as Rob Brantly now looks like the next player in line if Gary Sánchez or Kyle Higashioka go down with an injury.
- Luke Voit made a curious baserunning decision this afternoon. He attempted to tag up from second to third base on a fly ball to left field and was thrown out. Video below. This comes after some knee soreness earlier this week. Boone said it wasn’t a very smart decision (unclear if he meant this was a bad decision in a baseball-sense or a health-sense, but probably both). Still, Voit told the manager that he was feeling good and wanted to test out his knee. (Max Goodman)
Andrew McCutchen’s arm szn— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) March 11, 2021
- Gerrit Cole was on his A-game this afternoon. He struck out five and allowed one run on three hits in his 50 pitch, three inning start. Scott Kingery‘s deep double to center was the lone well struck ball against him. Enjoy this beautiful curveball:
Gerrit Cole, Wicked 83mph Knuckle Curve. 🤢 pic.twitter.com/MPmgHdhXEo— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 11, 2021
- In relief of Cole, Jonathan Loaisiga tossed three perfect innings and struck out one batter. Took him just 24 pitches to do so. He also recorded four consecutive assists on comeback grounders, which was amusing. Jhoulys Chacín completed two scoreless innings thereafter.
- Ho hum, another scoreless inning for Lucas Luetge today, who pitched the ninght. He struck out two batters in the process. Not as impressive as his last outing against the Phillies when he ran threw Andrew McCutchen, Didi Gregorius, and Bryce Harper, but getting outs is good no less. Today’s victims were Darick Hall, Logan O’Hoppe, and Nick Maton. Yeah, I’m not familiar with them.