TAMPA, Fla. -- New York Yankees ace Luis Severino expects to resume a throwing program in two weeks.
Severino will miss his scheduled start on opening day on March 28 because of right shoulder inflammation. He was scratched from his first planned start of spring training on Tuesday after feeling discomfort after throwing his first slider in a pregame bullpen session.
"It's going to be tough for a little bit, but it's better it happened now than into the season or at the end of the season," Severino said Wednesday. "I think it's something that we can treat now and move forward into the season and I'll be able to pitch."
Severino underwent an MRI on Tuesday.
"I wasn't scared because I knew it was nothing bad," Severino said. "Nothing about my shoulder. I think it was something about my muscles."
The 25-year-old right-hander will receive a cortisone shot.
"You get optimistic from the MRI," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "Obviously it's a concerning situation until he's on the mound for a consistent period of time until the point where you forgot it ever happened."
Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, CC Sabathia and J.A. Happ are also projected to be in the Yankees' rotation. Jonathan Loaisiga and Domingo German are possible replacements in the rotation. Luis Cessa, who is out of options, is viewed as more as a reliever.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after a 9-5 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals that Sabathia, who had a heart stent inserted in December and has a pending five-game suspension, could miss two or three starts in April.
"I certainly don't expect him for the start of the season, it may be a couple weeks in if everything keeps going according to plan," Boone said.
Boone didn't rule out using a true reliever as an opener in some situations.
"I think when we're healthy and right, obviously I don't see it much but I think there's some days you could see it," Boone said. "There's so many things for us that would go into that. In a long stretch of games you wanted to give a guy an extra day. It's a little softer landing for some guys, start at the back end of the lineup."
Dallas Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez are available as free agents. Cashman said it was more realistic to think about adding pitchers when teams turn their attention to trades in June, after the amateur draft.
"I can't rule anything out, but the main focus is what we have," Cashman said. "We're comfortable with that, but we also recognize as the season plays out we're going to add to this group regardless."
Severino is a two-time All-Star who is 41-25 with a 3.51 ERA. He went 19-8 with a 3.39 ERA last year, winning 14 of his first 16 decisions but then lost five of his last 11. He came out early in both of his postseason starts, going 0-1 in seven innings.
Severino avoided an arbitration hearing with the Yankees and agreed to a $40 million, four-year contract, a deal that includes a team option and could be worth $52.25 million for five seasons.
Cashman said outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who didn't play last season because of a number of injuries, is expected to report to camp in mid-March. Ellsbury has been taking part in a rehab program in Arizona after experiencing plantar fasciitis following hip surgery.
"He's progressing out there," Cashman said. "I think the game plan to leave him out there to get finished off was a smart play. The plan is for him to join us and assess where he's at."
The Yankees optioned RHP Domingo Acevedo to Double-A Trenton, and reassigned RHP Brady Lail and RHP Trevor Stephan to minor league camp.
Sabathia threw 22 pitches during his third bullpen session. ... Reliever Danny Farquhar is scheduled to make his second appearance Thursday as he returns from a ruptured aneurysm and brain hemorrhage last April. The right-hander got one out and was charged with five runs in an 8-7 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday.
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