Taillon and Severino provide good news for Yankees rotation

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The New York Yankees are getting good news about the rotation behind ace Gerrit Cole.

Jameson Taillon became the second starter in two days coming off an injury to have a positive first spring training start.

Taillon, who had offseason surgery to repair a right ankle tendon, went two scoreless innings Monday against the Philadelphia Phillies.

“I’m definitely in a better spot than before the surgery,” Taillon said. “It’s still feeling like there’s somethings I can do in the training room and somethings I can do in the weight room with like my running progression and jumping and things like that. But I was in a much worse place last year.”

Right-hander Luis Severino, limited to four late season relief appearances in 2021 after having Tommy John surgery on Feb. 27, 2020, had an encouraging outing Sunday against the Detroit Tigers. Afterwards, Severino said health-wise he feels pretty good.

Taillon went 8-6 with a 4.30 ERA over 29 starts in his first season with the Yankees. Prior to last year, he hadn’t pitched since May 1, 2019, while with the Pittsburgh Pirates because of Tommy John surgery.

Severino’s two-inning stint was the first time he pitched at spring training in four years. He was hurt while warming up for his initial scheduled exhibition start in 2019.

“I felt, like, more nervous than 2015 (rookie year),” Severino said. “I threw two innings, hopefully next one I get three. I’m real excited about it.”

A 19-game winner in 2018, Severino signed a $40 million, four-year contract before the 2019 season. He was limited by shoulder soreness to three appearances in 2019, the first on Sept. 17 and the last on Sept. 28, plus a pair of postseason starts

“Watching Sevie throw yesterday made me super happy,” Taillon said. “He looked super healthy and strong. I think we’ve got a lot of really good arms.”

Nestor Cortes Jr., in the mix for the back end of the rotation, also had two strong innings against the Phillies.

“I’m excited about what we have,” New York manager Aaron Boone said. “I think pitching overall was a strength of ours last year. Again we’re in middle, later part of March, so I don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves because we have a long way to go but I do feel like we have the makings of a really good staff both starting and relief corps.”

Cole, bothered by left hamstring tightness late in 2021, had a simulated game Friday and is scheduled to do it again Tuesday.

WELCOME ABOARD

The Yankees finalized a minor league contract with INF/OF Marwin Gonzalez, who joined the major league spring training camp. Gonzalez, 33, is a career .256 hitter with 101 homers and 397 RBIs. In 2021, the switch-hitter had a .199 average, hitting five homers and driving in 28 runs over 91 combined games between the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros.

QUOTABLE

“We feel like we’ve got a good team. and we’re now at the highest payroll we’ve ever had in our history.”

— Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.

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