Arm ‘good’ after fear of pain

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Yankees breathed a sigh of relief Thursday when Luis Severino reported feeling “fine” a day after a bullpen session.

The right-hander experienced “general arm pain” a day after his last appearance last Friday, leading the Yankees to push back his next start. That made Thursday important, a day after Severino threw 31 pitches in the bullpen, but he remains in line to make his final Grapefruit League start on Saturday against the Braves.

“I haven’t spoken to him yet, but I’ve asked [pitching coach Matt] Blake and the training team said they were really encouraged by what he brought with him today,” Boone said. “[We were] We kind of waited this morning and that’s what we were hoping up to this point.

According to Boone, Severino will be in the 50-60 range on Saturday.

Luis Severino
Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino took on the Phillies on March 25.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Po

Gerrit Cole’s final Grapefruit League start, scheduled for Friday against the Tigers, could be in jeopardy as rain is forecast for Lakeland, Fla. Cole said he was “concerned about the weather” and that the back-up plan would set back either Friday in Tampa or Saturday in a game.

“It’s not ideal,” said Cole. “It’s important to see thugs.”

Corey Kluber is now with the Rays, but the Yankees still feel his influence — particularly through Michael King.

King had been trying to add a third pitch to his repertoire and got help from Kluber in the Bronx last season when he learned his signature slider/curveball last May before introducing it midseason. As he re-enters a hybrid long-release, high-leverage role, King said it will be important to continue refining the new pitch.

“If it was a copy of Corey, it would be electric,” said King, who also pitched with Kluber that offseason. “But honestly, anything that comes close is what I’m looking for. … I went through six different slider holds, I threw it in college and it was never a good throw for me until Kluber.”

With Thursday marking a week until Opening Day, more serious talks about roster decisions began to get underway.

To break camp — with rosters expanding from May 26 to May 28 through May 1 to make room for the truncated spring training — Boone said he expects to carry at least 15 pitchers, if not 16. As long as the Yankees stay healthy until then, Boone sees “probably a roster spot or two up for grabs.”

Catcher Ben Rortvedt (oblique) hit a tee shot and soft toss Thursday but hasn’t progressed to taking live-at-bats just yet.

“He’s not here yet,” Boone said. “But he’s moving in the right direction.”

— Additional reporting by Dan Martin in Tampa Arm ‘good’ after fear of pain


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