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Luis Severino’s, Dellin Betances’ similar injuries aren’t necessarily red flags


The similarities are shocking.

Luis Severino’s injuries this spring started in his right shoulder. Now, 16 weeks later he is slowly and carefully working his way back from a strained lat. This week, Dellin Betances seemed on the cusp of returning from the shoulder issues that had kept him out for the first 15 weeks of the season. Now he’s rehabbing a “low grade,” right lat strain.

The red flags should be going up all over the Yankees front office, right? How did two important MLB pitchers under the watchful eyes of the Yankees’ rehab specialists suffer similar injuries? Seems suspicious.

Well, maybe not, according to Dr. John Kelly IV, of Penn Medical, who is an expert in the area of shoulder injuries in athletes. Lat tightness is often associated with pitching and not an uncommon injury.

“Lat tightness has been associated with throwing injuries and is common. When your lats are tight, they are more easily injured, so this would not be unusual,” Kelly said. “It will delay rehab and the key is to be sure if it is not torn. A torn lat would require surgery to get the best results for a pitcher.”

Luis Severino and Dellin Betances are now both trying to make their way back from a lat strain.

So, Dr. Kelly said that the lat issue becomes the major issue for Betances right now. While Severino seems to be on target for a return after next month’s All-Star break, Betances has been shut down to let the lat heal.

“You go with the most symptomatic issue. Now, it sounds like the lat is most pressing. I don’t know the extent of the injury, but lat stretching and rehab can help,” Kelly said.

Brian Cashman said they were concerned when Severino’s injury — presented by the team as a Grade 2 lat strain, which is a partial tear — surfaced. The Yankees GM said there had been an MRI that did not show a tear back in March and then in April the strain was visible in a second MRI. Severino was insistent the injury happened all at once.

At the time, Cashman said he had confidence in the Yankees medical and rehab personnel, but that they would be looking into how the injury happened in a supposed controlled environment.

While this may be a common issue with pitchers, it may be something the Yankees need to zero in on.