BOSTON — Luis Severino screamed and pumped his fists as he walked off the mound. The Yankee right-hander picked up his first win in over two years Saturday night, pitching two scoreless innings in relief as the Yankees beat the Red Sox 5-3 at Fenway. It was his first win since September 2019 and his first as a reliever since 2016.
“It was amazing,” said Severino, who was making just his second appearance since March 2020 Tommy John surgery. “From the beginning in the bullpen I was visualizing myself on the mound and one pitch and everything. When I got there it was even better.”
Severino did not give up a hit. He walked one, hit a batter and struck out four. Severino pitched the crucial seventh and eighth innings to give the Yankees the series win over the Red Sox. They were the highest leverage pitches he has thrown since the 2019 playoffs, and he’s missed it.
“I really don’t like the bullpen,” Severino said with a laugh. “Before I started a lot (I pitched out of the bullpen), but right now, it is the best situation. The bullpen all year long has been the key for this team and being there with those guys and trying to help the team. I think that’s big and coming through and being in big situations, I like that.”
DJ ‘BEAT UP’
DJ LeMahieu is out of the Yankees lineup Saturday with a “hip/groin” issue. The infielder has been dealing with the issue for awhile and was “pretty beat up” after Friday night’s series-opening win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
“Just kind of the last couple weeks [he has] been dealing with the hip/groin thing that last night was kind of holding him back a little bit,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He’s pretty beat up after last night’s game so hopefully something that a day will help him and he will be back in there.”
LeMahieu is slashing .268/.349/.363 with a .711 OPS in 146 games this season. The natural second baseman recently moved to third base when the Yankees decided to move Gleyber Torres from shortstop to second.
“I feel like he’s swinging the bat well. I think it’s more just moving around and I think in some ways it kind of affects everything‚” Boone said. “I feel like at the plate he’s in a pretty good spot.”
LOAISIGA LAST STEPS
Jonathan Loaisiga could be back for next week’s big series in Toronto. The right-handed reliever, who was among the most reliable in the league earlier this season, will throw another bullpen on Sunday and could be activated before Tuesday’s series-opener against the Blue Jays.
“If everything goes well with that pen tomorrow then he could potentially be active for the Blue Jays series. Or if we get through that and decide he needs another one, or a live session, we’ll make that call, but he could be in play for the Blue Jays series,” Boone said.
Loaisiga went on the injured list Sept. 5 with a strained shoulder. He’s pitched a career high 68 innings over a career-high 54 appearances. He has five saves and 66 strikeouts.
BREAK GLASS IN CASE OF EMERGENCY
Luis Gil and Clarke Schmidt have made their contributions to get the Yankees to this point, now they may have to step aside and watch the finish. Boone said that their experience this season in the big leagues has been invaluable, but with Loaisiga and Jameson Taillon expected back this week, they will be relegated back to “emergency use,” situations.
“If everything goes the way we want it to go then we’re gonna have to make a couple moves to get [Taillon] back on [the roster] and then hopefully get Loaisiga back on, so obviously that takes up a couple spots if everything’s going according to plan,” Boone said. “But we also know that we have the two guys you mentioned in Schmidt and Luis down there that if we need something, those guys are capable of it. "
CANADIAN COVID CAUTION
With the Yankees returning to Toronto for the first time since 2019, there comes some added concern. The Canadian government just opened its borders to Americans, but with strict guidelines, including increased testing and quarantines, that have caused other teams some issues.
The Red Sox had personnel have to stay behind in Toronto and quarantine when they tested positive during a recent trip there and the Rays were so concerned about the guidelines they left the pitchers who were not expected to throw in the series behind in the U.S. Any issues requiring quarantine at this point in the season could affect the Yankees’ playoff roster.
The Yankees have plenty of experience with COVID-19 this season, having gone through three separate outbreaks, and are taking extra precautions heading out of the country for the first time since before the coronavirus pandemic.
“As of now we’re not leaving anyone behind. But I mean there is a little bit of concern because there’s obviously more things you gotta do, more boxes to check, more hoops you have to jump through, to make sure we’re good to go up there,” Boone said. “So we’re trying to get that laid out as best we can. I’m downloading an app that makes things more seamless that all of us are doing so hopefully we’re as buttoned up as we can be when we go there. Obviously, everyone’s got to be tested ahead of time. So we’ll know going into that.
“Just trying to be as buttoned up as we can about it.”