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Luis Severino not stressing Yankees’ playoff roster audition

Luis Severino certainly isn’t viewing his starts since returning from the injured list as an audition or a proving ground for postseason starts for the Yankees.

The former All-Star righty will make his second start since a two-month IL stint Monday night against the Blue Jays in Toronto, five days after an encouraging outing of five innings of one-run ball Wednesday night against the Pirates.

“I don’t really think that I’m here to try out for the postseason. I’ve been here long enough and they know what I can do when I am healthy,” Severino said before Sunday’s game against Boston. “We have a lot of good guys here, but they can’t pitch every day. They need other guys to pitch and I am excited to do that.”

In his first start since July 13 because of a lat injury, Severino allowed one run on two hits over an efficient, 64-pitch outing against the Pirates on Wednesday to lower his ERA for the season to 3.36. He also is lined up to pitch next weekend against the Orioles before the Yankees finish the regular season with four games in Texas.

Luis Severino
Noah K. Murray

The 28-year-old Severino missed the entire COVID-shortened 2020 season and most of last year following 2020 Tommy John surgery.

He is likely to join Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortes in the top three rotation slots for the postseason, with the order to be determined, perhaps based on their opponent.

“I feel really good,” Severino said. “I’m going to be around 80 pitches [Monday], then the one after that around 90, so after that I’ll be good to go for whatever [in the playoffs].

“I got to give innings [against Pittsburgh], threw over 60 pitches. I think when I’m under pressure to throw strikes because I have a low pitch count, I think that was better for me. I was not planning to go six [innings] or throw 70-plus pitches, so that was good enough for me.”

The Blue Jays should present a stern test Monday night, ranking first in the American League in batting average, on-base percentage and OPS. They also are second behind the Yankees in runs scored to currently sit in one of the three wild-card positions in the AL.

“Definitely, this is a different lineup I’m facing tomorrow, a lot of righties, and they are always a challenge,” Severino said. “All of the teams that will be in the playoffs are [a challenge].

“I knew I was going to be back at some point, and I know we’re going to be in the postseason. I’m very excited to watch some old friends and some new guys get to compete in the postseason. It’s going to be fun but it’s going to be tough, it’s the best of the best out there. We need to be ready and we will be.”

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