Luis Severino’s Shoulder Injury Adds to Yankees’ Injury Problems

March 7, 2019 | insideinjuries | No Comments

The Yankees already had quite a few injuries to deal with as Opening Day approaches. Aaron Hicks is sidelined with another core injury, this time to his back. Didi Gregorius is a long ways away from returning to the lineup following Tommy John surgery. Gary Sanchez made his spring debut but still isn’t 100% following offseason shoulder surgery. And now their ace, Luis Severino, is battling an injury to his throwing shoulder.

Severino experienced pain in the back of his throwing shoulder and was scratched from his schedule start on Tuesday. The immediate concern with pain in this location is either damage to the rotator cuff or a lat muscle strain. An MRI showed rotator cuff inflammation, which is relatively good news, but he isn’t out of the woods just yet. This is something that can lead to long-term problems with the rotator cuff.

The plan is to shut him down for two weeks to allow the inflammation to calm down. He received a cortisone injection, which will help to reduce inflammation and manage the pain. Severino will be re-evaluated and hopes to be cleared to throw once he hits that two week mark, but that might not be enough time for his shoulder to heal. Inside Injuries is showing a three week Optimal Recovery Time if this is inflammation and nothing more. He will focus on rehab and strengthening his shoulder over the next few weeks, but he shouldn’t throw at full strength until the end of the month.

Severino won’t be ready on Opening Day, but if all goes well he could return to the Yankees rotation by late April. This is one of those injuries where he needs to be very patient and not rush back. When cleared to throw, he needs to start slow and throw from 90 feet for a few days, making sure there’s no pain or excessive soreness before progressing to longer throws and eventually to the mound. This process should take around two weeks, and then he will need time to stretch out his arm so he is ready to rejoin the rotation.

Following a 19-8 season where he posted a 3.39 ERA, Severino received a $40 million contract extension. If  there isn’t an underlying cause to the inflammation such as a rotator cuff tear, he should still be able to perform as an ace starting in May. But if there is a more serious problem going on that wasn’t identified on the MRI, it’s going to be a rough season. Also keep in mind that this serves as an early red flag that he could suffer more serious rotator cuff damage late in his career. It could be this season or it could be years from now. Consider Severino a high risk guy to draft, but he has enough upside that he should be considered if he somehow drops outside of the top 100 picks.