Luis Severino returned to the Yankees on Monday, nearly two years after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Unfortunately, he’s not built up to be a help in the rotation — and he can’t hit or play catcher.
With the Yankees’ postseason hopes dimming by the day — especially after two awful blowout losses to Cleveland over the weekend in The Bronx — Severino was reinstated from the 60-day injured list prior to the series opener against Texas.
“I’m ready for anything,’’ Severino said before the game.
To make room for Severino, right-hander Sal Romano was released from the roster.
Severino will be an option out of the bullpen the rest of the way, with the Yankees having a dozen games remaining in the regular season heading into Monday night.
Severino underwent elbow surgery in February 2020. He was on his way back this year when he suffered a strained groin during his second rehab start and then was sidelined by right shoulder tightness.
“It’s been a long road for him,’’ Aaron Boone said before the game. “He’s gotten close here the last couple months. Knowing how hard he’s worked over the last couple years to get to this point, I feel good for him.”
And since the Yankees are trying to get back into the playoff picture, Boone said Severino — like a lot of others — might be used in different ways.
“He could be in a lot of different roles,’’ Boone said. “I’d love to get him in there the next couple days to get him going. We’re down to 12 games and we know how important they are.”
That means Severino could be used in “the highest-leverage situation or a multi-inning role. We feel we got a really good pitcher added to the mix.”
Severino acknowledged he’ll face an adjustment, since he entered Monday having not faced major league hitters since 2019.
“Big league hitters are not the same as the minor leagues,’’ Severino said of the rehab games that got him to this point.
But the Yankees don’t have much more time to get Severino built up or to work on his arsenal, so he’ll do the rest with them.
He believed he’d have some emotions when he first got back on a mound in The Bronx — much like he did when he made his debut in 2015, but that “after the first pitch, everything is gonna come back.”
According to Boone, Severino looks “very similar” to the pitcher he was before the Tommy John surgery.
“He’s worked on his changeup and added the cutter/slider,’’ Boone said. “Physically, he’s throwing the ball really well. He’s strong.”
Severino said he’d use his experience pitching out of the bullpen in 2016, when he pitched the second half of the season as a reliever following a return from a strained triceps, to regain his comfort in his new job.
The 27-year-old has been mostly sidelined since signing a four-year, $40 million extension in February 2019, with shoulder, lat and elbow issues keeping him off the mound for long stretches of time.
“I was signed to play baseball,’’ Severino said. “A lot of things happened and I couldn’t do it. I can’t control that.”
He’s also confident the Yankees have another run in them to make the postseason.
“We have a great team,’’ Severino said. “We’re in a tough stretch right now. [We had] a 13-game winning streak [last month]. That’s the kind of team we are.”