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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.

Straight-away center field will be 385 feet at London Stadium

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Marley Rivera of ESPN has a story about some of the on-field and in-game entertainment, as well as some aspects of the field conditions, for this weekend’s London Series.

The fun stuff: a mascot race, not unlike the Sausage Race at Miller Park or the President’s race at Nationals Park. The mascots for London: Winston Churchill, Freddie Mercury, Henry VIII and the Loch Ness Monster. I suppose that’s OK but, frankly, I’d go with Roger Bannister, Shakespeare, Charles Darwin and Guy Fawkes. Of course no one asks me these things.

There will also be a “Beat the Streak”-style race which had better use the theme to “Chariots of Fire” or else what the heck are we even doing here.

They’ve also taught ushers and various volunteers who will be on-site to sing “Take me out to the ballgame,” which is a pretty good idea given how important that is to baseball. As a cultural exchange, I think some major league team should start using “Vindaloo” by Fat Les during the seventh inning stretch here. It’s a banger. It also seems to capture England a bit more accurately than, say, “Downton Abbey” or “The Crown.”

That’s all good fun I suppose. But here’s some stuff that actually affects the game:

The end result will have some interesting dimensions. The field will be 330 feet down each foul line, and it will have a distance of 385 feet to center field, which will feature a 16-foot wall. Cook also said it would have an expanded, “Oakland-like” foul territory, referencing the Athletics’ Oakland Coliseum expanse.

Those dimensions are unavoidable given that the square peg that is a baseball field is being shoved into the round hole that is a soccer stadium. As Murray Cook, MLB’s senior field coordinator tells Rivera, that sort of thing, while perhaps less than ideal, is at least in keeping with baseball’s strong tradition of irregular field conditions. It will, however, be one of the shortest dead center distances in baseball history.

Oh, and then there’s this:

Protective netting was also an important issue addressed when building the ballpark, with Cook stressing that his team has implemented netting that “is the largest you’ll ever see in any major league ballpark.”

[Craig makes a mental note to bookmark this for the next time MLB says it won’t mandate extended netting in the U.S. because doing so is too difficult]