Severino has confidence, poise beyond years

Beltran, Girardi impressed by performance of Yankees right-hander

Severino has confidence, poise beyond years

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- This season, Carlos Beltran will register the 10,000th plate appearance of a career he has spent with six big league teams. All those pitchers faced, all those teammates played behind, and he can't remember a rookie who had Luis Severino's confidence.

As the young right-hander enters what is expected to be his first full Major League season, Beltran believes that those 11 starts that the Yankees squeezed out of Severino in last year's postseason push were just an appetizer for the main course ahead.

"He's going to be a good pitcher, man. I see Severino being one of the best pitchers in the game," Beltran said. "That's the way I see it. It's a young talent. It's effortless what he does on the mound. It's effortless, the speed is there, the mechanics are there. He just needs to get experience."

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The Yankees agree; it was telling that there has been no discussion of returning the 22-year-old Severino to the Triple-A level this spring, even as manager Joe Girardi ponders how to squeeze CC Sabathia or Ivan Nova into the starting rotation.

Severino was 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 62 1/3 big league innings after being called up in August, and as far as the Yankees are concerned, he could be in the Majors to stay. Girardi offered some impressive comparisons in discussing Severino, tossing out David Price, Clayton Kershaw and a Hall of Famer.

"I was around Greg Maddux when I was a young player," Girardi said. "There was a ton of poise and he knew exactly what he wanted to do. I feel like Sevvy is the same way. He knows what he wants to do. Executing is sometimes a different story, but he has a plan."

Severino tossed a clunker in his first spring start, but he has followed up with a pair of sharp outings, spinning 3 2/3 scoreless frames with four strikeouts against the Rays on Saturday afternoon during the Yankees' 2-1 loss. Severino scattered four hits, throwing 43 of 59 pitches for strikes.

"I think I did good," Severino said. "I was down in the zone. That's all that matters."

Severino said he worked on his slider against Tampa Bay, and Girardi said the consistency of Severino's changeup and slider will determine how quickly he can take the next step in his development, getting hitters off his fastball.

"I'm trying to work on that," Severino said. "I'm trying to work on throwing more in the dirt, not only for a strike, and for striking them out too."

Beltran said Severino's mound presence cannot be taught, and that is a quality that should serve him well in New York.

"Experience is going to put him in the place where, with the tools that he has and the experience that he's gaining, he's going to be good," Beltran said. "He's going to be good for a long time for this organization. That's the way I see it. Not to put pressure on him, but that's what I see."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.