|Yankees' Severino returns against depleted Angels lineup|
The New York Yankees are closing in on their first American League East title since 2012, but all eyes will be on the pitches coming out of Luis Severino's right hand.
Severino is expected to make his season debut Tuesday night when the Yankees host the Los Angeles Angels in the opener of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees (98-53) enter Tuesday with a magic number of three to clinch the AL East and are tied with Houston for the AL's top record. The Yankees are close to their 18th division title despite Severino being among a major league-record 30 players covering 38 stints on the injured list this season.
Severino was a 19-game winner last season and signed a four-year, $40 million extension before spring training began. On March 15, he was diagnosed with rotator cuff inflammation his right shoulder and on April 9, he was diagnosed with a Grade 2 lat strain.
Severino returns after making two rehab starts with Double-A Trenton that covered 4 1/3 innings and 97 pitches.
"I am very excited about that," he told reporters in Toronto on Friday. "It's been a long wait, but it happened. I'm happy that I'm healthy and I'm going to be able to help my team.
"The guys here have done a good job all year. A lot of guys have been working hard all year, so I only have to do my part."
Tuesday will likely see Severino throw about 75 pitches in his first major league start since Game 3 of the ALDS against Boston.
The Yankees are welcoming Severino back after going 6-4 on a 10-game trip that ended with Sunday's 6-4 loss in Toronto, when Jordan Montgomery and Dellin Betances made their season debuts.
Severino is 0-1 with a 4.26 ERA in three career starts against the Angels, but this time he will not be facing Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout.
Ohtani is out for the season due to left kneecap surgery that will need eight to 12 weeks of recovery time. Trout last played Sept. 7, and on Sunday the Angels announced he is undergoing season-ending surgery to get a thickening of tissue removed from his right foot.
Ohtani ended his second season by hitting .286 with 18 homers and 62 RBIs in 106 games. Trout's season is over after he batted .291 with a career-high 45 homers and 104 RBIs to go along with 110 walks, a .438 on-base percentage and 1.083 OPS.
"It's my mindset coming in every year, I want to be the best player in the league," Trout said. "Ever since I was a kid, that's always been my mindset, just be the best. Thinking about being done when you have two weeks left, it sucks. I was having my best season."
The Angels (68-82) head to New York 14-33 in their last 47 games since getting to 54-49. They clinched their fourth straight losing season Saturday night but salvaged the finale of a three-game series against Tampa Bay when Albert Pujols hit a three-run homer and drove in four runs in Sunday's 6-4 win.
The Angels will begin their season-ending 12-game stretch against the Yankees, Houston and Oakland by starting Jose Suarez (2-6, 6.94 ERA). Suarez is 0-5 with a 7.64 ERA in his last 11 starts, the longest winless skid for an Angel since Hector Santiago's 11-game skid in 2014.
Suarez is making his first career start against the Yankees. The 21-year-old left-hander last pitched in Tuesday's loss to Cleveland when he allowed six runs in three innings.
--Field Level Media