Yanks' Severino throws pitches off flat ground

TAMPA, Fla. -- New York Yankees' starter Luis Severino returned to baseball activities Wednesday, playing catch for the first time since being diagnosed with right rotator cuff inflammation. Severino threw 25 pitches at about 60 feet from flat ground.

"I just feel a little bit off because I've been out for two weeks," Severino, 25, said after his workout at George M. Steinbrenner Field. "Just in my whole body when I threw in the outfield. The mechanics, all that stuff. We'll see tomorrow if I feel better."

The right-hander will start the season on the injured list and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that he expects him to make his 2019 debut in May.

"I know I'm not going to be (ready) maybe the first month of the season, but I feel happy that I'll be back and feel 100 percent healthy and help my team," Severino added.

Severino, who said he felt no discomfort, will play catch on back-to-back days, and he will increase his throws to 50 on Thursday.

The Yankees will have a crowded injury list on Opening Day, with six other Yankees, including pitchers CC Sabathia (knee), Dellin Betances (right shoulder impingement) and Jordan Montgomery (Tommy John surgery) out to start the season. They will be joined by shortstop Didi Gregorius (Tommy John surgery), and outfielders Aaron Hicks (lower back) and Jacoby Ellsbury (hip).

"We're taking hits, but they're also things that you expect, too," Cashman said. "It's not the way you would draw it up, but it's part of the playing season where you're going to be down for a period of time. These are resolvable and we'll be getting some high-ceiling talented contributing players that are part of the reason you're going to have success, although they're down now, they're going to be coming back."

Severino also addressed the signing of left-hander Gio Gonzalez, which the team made official.

"I think (Gonzalez) is a great pitcher; he's a great guy," Severino said. "I see him like CC (Sabathia), a veteran that can pitch and knows the league and has been around a long time. I think it's going to be a good thing for us."

Gonzalez's one-year contract, with an April 20 opt-out, will be worth $3 million for the season if he is added to the major league roster, plus incentives.