Yankees select Luis Severino for Opening Day

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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.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.