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Yankees’ Luis Severino Is Out Until May; Aaron Hicks Could Miss Opening Day

TAMPA, Fla. — Two key Yankees may be out longer than originally expected to start the 2019 season.

While pitcher Luis Severino had already been scratched from his opening-day start on March 28 because of a shoulder injury, General Manager Brian Cashman gave a clearer estimate on Friday, saying Severino would be out until the beginning of May “at the very earliest.”

“I can’t tell you past that,” he added. “If it needs to be more, we need to make sure we don’t have a problem with it.”

Aaron Hicks, who has been dealing with a back injury, may not be available for opening day, either. Cashman said the Yankees had yet to determine whether the center fielder would be available for their first game, against the Baltimore Orioles, but he acknowledged that the team had begun considering how to juggle the roster if Hicks was not ready.

When Hicks’s back stiffness first emerged two weeks ago, the Yankees believed it would be resolved in a few days. The discomfort persisted, however, to the point that Hicks received a cortisone shot in his back on Monday.

Cashman said Hicks, 29, could see a stint, if needed, on the 10-day injured list.

“We’re running out of time,” Cashman said. “We’re going to do what’s right for us in the long haul.”

Hicks said on Friday that his back felt “great” but that he was doing only conditioning exercises and had not yet resumed hitting. “If I keep staying pretty stable, I’m not too worried about it,” he said.

Hicks said that whenever his back is ready for hitting, it would not take him long — 15 to 20 at-bats, he estimated — to regain his timing for the season. Hicks, who received a seven-year, $70 million contract extension last month, made it clear that he wanted to be on the field against the Orioles on the 28th.

“You want to feel that rush of opening day, and you want to be introduced with your team,” he said.

If Hicks is on the injured list to start the season, the Yankees will use Brett Gardner in center field, with Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge on either side. The ripple effects on the rest of the roster are also yet to be determined: Who would be the fourth outfielder? Would the team carry both Luke Voit and Greg Bird at first base?

Severino, 25, who signed a four-year, $40 million contract extension last month, received a cortisone shot for his inflamed right rotator cuff and still has several days remaining in his 14-day shutdown from throwing. He will start playing catch next week, and if he encounters no issues it will still take at least a month to rebuild his arm strength and stamina to the point where he can return to a major league game.

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