3:34pm: Severino has not tested positive for COVID, Boone told reporters (including Lindsey Adler of the Athletic). He’d experienced viral symptoms overnight but has improved today.
2:26pm: The Yankees have placed starter Luis Severino on the COVID-19 injured list, meaning he won’t start tonight’s ballgame against the Rays as scheduled. That assignment will go to Clarke Schmidt, while right-hander Ryan Weber has been selected onto the big league roster in Severino’s place.
Severino has pitched brilliantly in 11 turns through the rotation. He owns a 2.80 ERA across 61 innings, striking out an excellent 28.7% of batters faced while walking a mere 6.1% of opponents. It’s been a welcome development to see him back in that role after he was limited to seven MLB appearances between 2019-21. The two-time All-Star missed the bulk of the 2019 season battling lat and shoulder troubles, then he underwent Tommy John surgery in February 2020. Groin and shoulder issues cropped up during last season’s rehab process, keeping him from getting back on a major league mound until September.
Once healthy, Severino more or less picked up where he’d left off as one of the game’s top starters. He’s been part of arguably the league’s best starting staff, as the Yankees top quintet all have an ERA of 3.33 or better. Nestor Cortes, Gerrit Cole, Jordan Montgomery, Jameson Taillon and Severino have combined to start 60 of the club’s 62 ballgames, but they’ll perhaps have to dip into their depth to cover a Severino absence.
The club did not specify whether Severino has tested positive for the virus or is being scratched due to symptoms or exposure. Players who test positive are subject to a 10-day absence under the 2022 health and safety protocols, although it’s possible to return sooner if the player subsequently tests negative twice and gains clearance from a trio of medical professionals (one each appointed by the league and MLBPA, as well as the team physician). Players who experience viral symptoms but don’t test positive can return as soon as their symptoms abate.
Weber, 31, is headed to the majors for an eighth consecutive season. He’s worked as a swing player for virtually his entire career, starting 16 of his 63 appearances. A control artist who generates plenty of ground-balls, Weber doesn’t throw particularly hard or miss many bats. He’s nevertheless caught the attention of various clubs as a depth arm based on his ability to work multiple innings. Assuming he makes it into a game with the Yankees, Weber will have suited up for six different teams at the major league level.
The Florida native had cups of coffee with each of the Mariners, Red Sox and Brewers last year. He tallied a combined 9 2/3 innings of 13-run ball, bringing his career ERA up to 5.28. Weber signed a minor league deal with New York this past offseason and has spent the year with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, working to a 2.95 mark through eight outings (four starts). He’s walked just one of the 89 batters he’s faced in the minors this year and will offer a long relief possibility for manager Aaron Boone.