Depleted Yankees open the door for opener experiment


TAMPA — An inflamed right rotator cuff will keep Luis Severino on the injured list when the Yankees open the season, and the staff ace will have CC Sabathia with him.

“I would say a short [IL] stint probably,” Aaron Boone said of Sabathia, who is suspended for the first five games of the season and coming off right knee surgery and having a stent inserted into a blocked heart artery during the offseason. “Everything is going pretty well, and he had [his second bullpen session]that went well. I certainly don’t expect him for the start of the season. It may be a couple of weeks in if everything goes according to plan.”

With two openings in the rotation, the Yankees have Domingo German, Luis Cessa and Jonathan Loaisiga competing for the spots. GM Brian Cashman is looking at all options — free agent Dallas Keuchel comes to mind — but said Wednesday he is inclined to stay within the organization. And Boone admitted using a reliever to start a game is a possibility.

“I could see it being considered from time to time. I don’t consider it a lot, but I could see it coming into play,” Boone said of employing the opener by using a reliever such as Chad Green to start a game. “There are so many things that go into that for us. A long stretch of games, you may want to give a guy an extra day. When we are healthy and right, I don’t see it that much.”

Severino believes his rotator cuff issue can improve before the end of his two-week shutdown, but that won’t allow the Yankees’ ace to be ready for Opening Day, on March 28 against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium.