CHICAGO -- One of the most anticipated debuts by a New York Yankees pitcher in years will take place Wednesday night when Luis Severino, the 21-year-old right-hander considered untouchable by the team's front office, makes his first big league start against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.
Severino, the highest-rated pitching prospect in the Yankees organization, is one of the key reasons the club made no major moves at the trade deadline. General manager Brian Cashman refused to include him, outfielder Aaron Judge or first baseman Greg Bird, all highly sought after around the league, in any deal.
Now Severino will have the chance to justify the GM's faith in him against what has traditionally been the Yankees' most bitter rival. Although the Red Sox are in last place in the AL East and 12½ games behind the first-place Yankees entering Saturday's games, Severino's major league debut is sure to take place in a charged atmosphere before a sellout crowd.
Cashman announced Friday that Severino would be promoted from Triple-A Scranton, where he was 7-0 with a 1.91 ERA after being moved up from Double-A Trenton in May, and manager Joe Girardi made it official before Saturday's 8-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox that Severino would start the second game of the three-game series.
Masahiro Tanaka will open the series Tuesday night because, Girardi said, he wanted to keep Tanaka close to his regular schedule. Tuesday night will mark six days since Tanaka's latest start, a loss to the Texas Rangers.
But all eyes will be on Severino, whom the Yankees chose to hold onto rather than include in potential deals for veteran pitchers such as David Price, Cole Hamels or Craig Kimbrel. He was signed for $225,000 as a 17-year-old out of the Dominican Republic in 2012, and over his first three seasons, he has seen his fastball velocity increase from 91 mph to 97 mph. He also has a plus slider and changeup.
"I'm doubling down on what we've got in the farm system," Cashman said Friday. "[Severino] moved really fast through the system and obviously had a lot of success. So we'll see what the next step for this youngster is. He's somebody we're excited about."
The Red Sox have not named a starting pitcher yet for Wednesday night's game.