The Yankees have continued to see good progress come from RHP Luis Severino, who is trying to return for the first time this season from a right lat strain.
His next step, according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch, will be a 35-pitch sim game down in Tampa. And if all goes well, the young righty could see his first rehab game on Sunday.
The Yankees would love to see Severino return to the team before they begin the postseason, but how exactly should they use him? Having him get the ball to start from the jump may not be the best course of action.
Well, Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, who has worked with Severino in the past, knows what he would do with him once he returns.
"I don't want to have Severino under a lot of stress, having to think 'Well I need to start this game. I need to do this. I need to do that,'" Martinez said on MLB Network. "I'll find open places where Severino can actually piggyback someone else and give him enough time to get himself into a groove, to warm up long enough. One of those open games that the Yankees have where he's not under so much pressure and forced to perform to try to win the ballgame for the Yankees.
"You limit the amount of pressure... You are just out there to do the work you need to do."@45PedroMartinez looks at a game plan for the @Yankees and Luis Severino as the #Postseason draws closer. #MLBTonight pic.twitter.com/KtsPnrjK4E- MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) August 27, 2019
So Martinez wants to see Severino come out of the bullpen, an option many believe may be good to ease himself back into the swing of things. The Yankees have been using Chad Green as an opener lately, and Severino could come in to toss two to three innings afterward.
And as Martinez points out, the Yankees should be well off in September to the point where they aren't fighting for a postseason spot. That can allow Severino to come in without any pressure, and simply work on his stuff and feeling confident in it heading into October when things start to matter.
"I would try to stretch Severino in a light way until we get to the postseason, and then we can find the role that can best find Severino," Martinez said.
And what is that best role for him in the postseason? Martinez still thinks staying in the bullpen as a secret weapon would be best. Look what the Red Sox did with their starters against the Yankees in the ALDS last year.
"Maybe not," Martinez said when asked if Severino should start in October. "Maybe be one of those guys that comes in different stages of the game."
Having the 25-year-old in that role would also preserve him for next season. Severino just signed a four-year, $40 million extension this offseason, and seeing him healthy throughout that deal would be ideal for the Yanks. You don't want to push him too much when he returns with the chance he may reinjure himself.
"Especially with a young arm like Severino, you have to think of the future," Martinez said. "You have to think about saving his career. He's under a great deal for the Yankees. I think I save him, I try to protect for next year."
Severino, of course, has to continue showing success on his way back to the bigs. And in the meantime, the Yankees will continue to weigh their options about how to deploy the All-Star upon his return.