Jose Contreras took the mound yesterday for the first time since undergoing elbow surgery in September and Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said afterward that the veteran right-hander “did fine” and “threw very, very well.”
Contreras was initially given a 4-6 month recovery timetable that made him unlikely to be healthy for the beginning of the season, but Todd Zolecki of MLB.com now reports that the Phillies “are hopeful he can be ready by Opening Day.”
Dubee stressed that the Phillies will take things slow with Contreras and at age 40 he’d be a question mark even without the big injury worries, which is why they signed Chad Qualls to fill the right-handed setup man void in front of high-priced closer Jonathan Papelbon.
Luis Severino will finally get his shot at an Opening Day start this year, the Yankees announced Saturday. According to manager Aaron Boone, he’ll lead a rotation comprised of Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Sonny Gray and Jordan Montgomery. It’ll be the first time since 2014 that someone other than Tanaka has taken the ball for Opening Day.
Severino, 24, is fresh off of his best career year to date. The right-hander pitched to a 14-6 record in 31 starts with the Yankees in 2017 and earned an All-Star nomination and Cy Young award consideration with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9, 10.7 SO/9 and 5.7 fWAR in 193 1/3 innings. “We feel like it’s his time for it,” Boone told reporters Saturday. “With what he was able to do last year, we feel like he’s in a really good place now. We just felt like now is the time for him to take on that role and we think he’s ready for it. I’m looking forward to seeing him grow in his role as one of the aces of this staff.”
Prior to Saturday, Severino pitched in just one Grapefruit League game this spring. He fired 3 1/3 innings against the Phillies, allowing three hits and one unearned run and striking out three batters.
The Yankees are scheduled to kick off the season on March 29 against the Blue Jays. Jordan Montgomery will start their home opener against the Rays on April 2.