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Luis Severino’s 2023 debut was brief, but a good one for Yankees

New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino (40) reacts while walking to the dugout at the end of the fourth inning. / John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Luis Severino’s first start of the season Sunday in Cincinnati did not get off to a good start: walking the Reds’ Jonathan India on four straight pitches out of the zone. But the Yankees’ starter was able to settle down and left feeling good about his 2023 debut.

“Felt really good. Feel like I was attacking the zone, after the first walk, of course,” Severino said after New York’s 4-1 win to get the sweep.

Severino left after just 4.2 innings allowing only one run on a controversial first-inning double down the right field line that saw manager Aaron Boone get tossed. The 29-year-old who missed the start of the season dealing with a lat injury struck out two of the last three batters he faced but a two-out single saw him lifted before he could qualify for the win.

Despite the short outing, Severino felt like he was getting stronger as the game went on.

“I was saving some bullets for the end there,” he said. “I know my leash is not gonna be long, I was around 70, 75 pitches, so I was just saving a little bit more for the end.”

Severino’s final line was one run on four hits with one walk and five strikeouts. He threw 75 pitches with 54 going for strikes.

“I was finding the zone. Changeup was really good,” he added. “The breaking ball, too. Got some swings on the breaking ball.”

The right-hander threw 44 four-seam fastballs, with an average velocity of 96.3mph, and drew 24 swings and eight whiffs on the heater. He got three whiffs on 16 changeups with another four called strikes and six swings, one whiff, and three called strikes on 14 sliders.

“I thought he kept getting better,” Boone said about a start he watched from the clubhouse. “I thought his misses were good misses. I thought the umpire had a really good strike zone and he was in and around the corners.

“And I thought he finished the day, probably in his mind, emptying the tank a little bit. So you had a little extra juice even there at the end of his outing, but I thought overall he was sharp.”

Of course, Severino was a little disappointed to get pulled in a 2-1 game and take a no-decision in his first start of the campaign.

“Yeah, I was disappointed, but we got the win and that’s the most important thing,” he said.

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