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Luis Severino not expected back until May ‘at the earliest’

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Brian Cashman gave some updates on Yankees injuries today. You will not be surprised to hear that, as is usually the case, the time the injured players will be out is a bit longer than initial, optimistic projections.

Cashman said he doesn’t expect starter Luis Severino back until May.  Severino was diagnosed with “rotator cuff inflammation” ten days ago and was to be shut down for two weeks. It’s not clear if the shutdown is going to be extended or if, rather, his ramp-up schedule from the shutdown is simply going to take longer than expected. Either way, the Yankees will be without their ace for at least the first month of the season.

UPDATE: It sounds more dire than that, actually:

Cashman added that CC Sabathia is not expected back until sometime in mid-to-late April. Sabathia spring schedule was slow to get moving due to caution following an offseason heart procedure and cleanup surgery on his arthritic right knee. He began throwing to live hitters just three days ago.

Finally, it appears as though center fielder Aaron Hicks will begin the season on the injured list. Hicks has been out since March 2 with pain in his back. On Monday received a cortisone shot but has yet been able to swing the bat fully.

Severino’s shoulder is the thing to watch the most closely here — it could be serious — while the other two injuries don’t seem particularly major. Still, injuries have a way of inflicting death by a thousand cuts, so none of this is great news for the Bombers.

Braves sign Marcell Ozuna to one-year, $18 million deal

Marcell Ozuna
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The Braves have announced on Tuesday evening the signing of free agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that it’s a one-year contract for $18 million.

Ozuna, 29, hit .241/.328/.472 with 29 home runs, 89 RBI, 80 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 549 plate appearances for the Cardinals last season. He’s been consistently above-average in each of the past four seasons, which also included a career year in 2017 in which he was worth 6.1 WAR, per Baseball Reference.

It is surprising that Ozuna, a two-time All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner, had to settle for a one-year deal. The Braves are happy he did as he will help make up for some of the offense lost when third baseman Josh Donaldson became a free agent and ultimately signed with the Twins. Ozuna can become a free agent again after the 2020 season but won’t have qualifying offer compensation attached to him, part of the reason why his market may have been slow to develop.

Along with Ozuna, the Braves have signed in free agency this offseason reliever Will Smith, starter Cole Hamels, and catcher Travis d'Arnaud. They re-signed relievers Chris Martin and Darren O'Day, catcher Tyler Flowers, infielder Adeiny Hechavarría, and outfielder Nick Markakis.