Yankees' Luis Severino likely to start season on IL

New York Yankees right-hander Luis Severino again is dealing with what is being described as a low-grade right lat strain and will likely start the season on the injured list, manager Aaron Boone told reporters Saturday.

Severino was scratched from his final spring training start and will miss at least his first scheduled regular-season start, Boone said.

"Obviously it's going to put him in jeopardy to start the year," Boone said.

It is the latest injury blow to the Yankees, who could be opening the season without three-fifths of their projected starting rotation. Carlos Rodon (forearm strain) and Frankie Montas (shoulder surgery) also will begin the season on the injured list.

Boone expressed optimism this wouldn't be a long-term issue, saying Severino, 29, won't throw for at least five days. He last pitched in a Grapefruit League game Tuesday, striking out nine while giving up two runs over four innings.

"Afterwards when he was kind of doing his workout, arm-care stuff, he just felt some tightness in there," Boone said. "He came in the next day and it was a little tight, and then yesterday he was going to go out and throw and that tightness was still there enough to where he wanted to go get it looked at."

Severino gave up six home runs this spring and has a 9.00 ERA.

He missed more than two months last season with the same injury, which was also initially described as a low-grade strain at the time. The Yankees exercised a $15 million option for this season after Severino went 7-3 with a 3.18 ERA and 112 strikeouts in 19 starts in 2022.

Severino was scheduled to start the second game of the season, and Clarke Schmidt will move into that spot. As for replacing Severino in the rotation, Boone said Jhony Brito is among the options to fill in as a fifth starter.

The only projected starters from the Yankees' rotation likely to be ready for the beginning of the season are five-time All-Star right-hander Gerrit Cole and 2022 All-Star left-hander Nestor Cortes.

Severino, a two-time All-Star, missed most of the 2019 and 2021 seasons and all of 2020 because of shoulder and elbow injuries, throwing just 18 combined innings over that span.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.