Brian Cashman confirmed to The Score in Chicago on Saturday morning that he did indeed tell Luis Severino that he would not be allowed to pitch for the Dominican Republic in this year’s World Baseball Classic.
Cashman simply stated the obvious, in that the oft-injured Severino carried too much of a health risk, and the focus needs to be on preparing for the 2023 season, where Severino is expected to be a key cog of a retooled Yankees rotation with Carlos Rodon joining the fold.
“We support our players going, but when you have a player like Luis Severino who has had an injury history the last few years, of course he wanted to play and represent his country, but that’s not in our best interest given losing him so far over the last few years,” Cashman explained.
“Having him pitch competitive, championship-pending, World Baseball Classic I think ends in March, versus preparation innings in March for your long-haul season, that was a decision I had to make.”
The Yankees have seen their own players suffer consequential injuries in the World Baseball Classic, like Didi Gregorius spraining his shoulder in 2017, and Mark Teixeira injured his wrist in 2013 while hitting off a tee at a WBC practice, and played in just 15 games that season. As for Severino, he pitched in just 18 innings from 2019 through 2021, and while he got back up to 102 innings last year, he still missed time with a lat strain after returning from multiple setbacks during his recovery from Tommy John surgery.
So, it wasn’t a particularly difficult call for Cashman, though he does respect the desire to compete in the event.
“From a vague or general perspective, this is a commissioner’s office partnership with the Players Association and ownership to help grow the game,” Cashman said. “It’s an incredible tournament. It certainly captivates everybody while it’s going on.
“I respect he wanted to play, but I gotta protect the Yankees first. He’s too important to us. His injury history the last few years, it’s better to get him out of the gate nice and slow.”
Follow Ryan Chichester on Twitter: @ryanchichester1