TAMPA, Fla. -- Luis Severino's live arm was the first thing that Yankees manager Joe Girardi noticed while watching his bullpen sessions early in camp. Girardi has now twice seen the young right-hander attack hitters with confidence, and that may be an even more impressive trait.
Severino struck out three in 1 1/3 innings in the Yankees' 3-2 Grapefruit League victory over the Nationals on Sunday at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Clocked at 96 and 97 mph, the Yanks' No. 1 prospect permitted an unearned run on two hits with a walk and a wild pitch.
"He challenges people. He's not overwhelmed by the situation," Girardi said. "I know he walked a guy [Tony Gwynn Jr.] today, but he kept throwing strike after strike and put a tough at-bat on him. I really liked his approach. I mean, obviously you can see the stuff is there. It's easy to get excited about that, but the approach is really good too."
Severino, 21, was 6-5 with a 2.47 ERA in 24 starts last year, pitching at three levels in the Minor League chain -- Class A Charleston, Class A Advanced Tampa and Double-A Trenton. In 113 innings, he permitted just 93 hits while striking out 127 and issuing just 27 walks.
"I think it's the biggest year I've had," Severino said. "I listened a lot. I had to learn. If my pitching coach said, 'Hey, throw that there,' I had to do it."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.