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Luis Severino to have TJ surgery

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Yankees general manager Brian Cashman just told reporters that doctors have recommended Tommy John surgery for Luis Severino. Assuming they don’t get a second opinion, he’s done for the year.

Severino missed almost all of last season due to lat and shoulder issues. After making three regular season appearances and two postseason appearances — pitching a combined 20.1 innings in all — the expectation was that he’d get a full, regular offseason’s worth of rest and come back for 2020. Almost as soon as spring training began, however, he was shut down due to forearm soreness. It later came out that he had been experiencing that soreness since last year’s ALCS. He has spent the last several days in New York consulting with physicians.

Severino went 19-8 in 32 starts in 2018, posting a 3.39 ERA across 191.1 innings, after which he signed a four-year, $40 million contract extension. At the time it was derided by many as below-market, but given the risk posed to his career at this point, it looks like a fortunate safety net for the hurler. As it is, assuming he goes under the knife, he will have basically missed two seasons and, in all likelihood, a little bit of change before he pitches again.

As for the Yankees, they entered spring training believing that they’d have a rotation of Gerrit Cole, James Paxton, Masahrio Tanaka, Severino, and J.A. Happ, with the return of Domingo Germán once he returns from suspension. Now that Severino is out — and given that Paxton is out for 3-4 months due to back surgery as well — it’s Cole, Tanaka, Happ, Jordan Montgomery and . . . field.

Given the Yankees’ firepower they should still be OK, but their battle to fend off the Rays just got that much harder.

UPDATE:

The big question Brian Cashman and everyone in the Yankees needs to answer now is why a dye contrast MRI was not done before now given that Severino had been feeling discomfort since last fall. If this had been caught then, he could’ve at least had a mostly normal 2020-21 offseason and been ready for next year. As it is now, he likely won’t have a full 2021, even if everything goes right with surgery and rehab.

Report: President Trump wants sports to return by August or September

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Adrian Wojnarowski and Adam Schefter report that President Donald Trump told the sports commissioners on today’s conference call that he hopes that the leagues can re-open their doors to fans by August or September. The conference call, as we wrote earlier today, included a who’s-who of sports decision-makers.

Trump reportedly also said that the NFL can open on schedule in September, and urged the commissioners to work together to lobby for sports-related tax credits for consumers.

It’s hard to imagine MLB being able to get anything resembling a full season done if the game doesn’t resume until August or September. Even with the proposal to play a lot of double-headers in consideration, that would be asking an awful lot of the players, especially the pitchers. The season could theoretically stretch on into October, with the playoffs being held in warm-weather environments and domes in November. Yet that would depend on COVID-19 being contained in those locations, and would also impact the length of the offseason. Players would have less time to heal and rest up for next year’s spring training.

Trump’s benchmarks are also being set without any real sense for the scale of the pandemic given the abysmal lack of testing taking place to track the spread of the virus. The CDC and other health outlets within the government are operating on educated guesses and not hard data. We could have live sports back by August, or not until November. It’s simply too soon to tell.

The decision to re-open the leagues would not be a light one. Fans will be eager to get back in the stands after such a long layoff without sports. Live sporting events pull in tens of thousands of people, and just a handful of infected fans would be able to let the virus spread like wildfire. The health of the players is also paramount. Even a single player testing positive for COVID-19 could derail the nascent season.

One thing is clear, though. If baseball isn’t able to return until September, we may as well not have a season at all. There’s a very real chance we won’t be seeing any American baseball until 2021. Now might be a good time to figure out how to livestream the KBO, which is hoping to start its season sometime next month.

If you want to learn more about COVID-19, give the CDC’s site about the virus a read. Informing yourself is the most important step.

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