NEW YORK — Luis Severino walked off the mound in the fourth inning, headed to an offseason of uncertainty following a sophomore season of frustration.
Expected to be a major component of the New York Yankees’ rotation, the 22-year-old right-hander was demoted to the minors three times.
“At the beginning it was a tough situation. I got sent down, but I’m finishing strong,” he said Saturday after the Yankees rallied to beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-3 in their penultimate game of the season. “It’s good.”
Severino was 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 11 starts over the final two months last season. But he went 3-8 with a 5.83 ERA this year in 11 starts and 10 relief appearances, making only four big league starts after mid-May.
New York wants him to develop a changeup to go with his 97 mph fastball and slider. Because he doesn’t have a consistent third pitch, the Yankees could shift him to the bullpen.
“I think it’s a topic of discussion for the winter,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I think what you try to do next spring is you take the 12 best pitchers when you leave camp.”
New York’s projected 2017 rotation includes Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda. Beyond that, Severino is slated to compete with Luis Cessa, Bryan Mitchell and others. And then there are possible additions in trades and free agency.
“I think the one thing that players need to understand is there’s no certainty in this game,” Girardi said. “When you take the field on a daily basis, you have to prove yourself, so there’s nothing given to anyone in this game. So you have to go out and earn it. So I think it’s important that you never forget that. He understands that he had an up-and-down year. He knows that.”
Baltimore built a 3-0 lead on Michael Bourn’s two-run single in the second and Manny Machado’s third-inning homer on an 0-2 pitch. Starting after the Yankees decided to skip Tanaka’s final turn, Severino allowed five hits in 3 2/3 innings, leaving after 66 pitches.
“I think I need to work on my changeup and my fastball command,” he said.
Austin sparked the comeback against tiring Wade Miley with an RBI single in the fifth and a home run in the seventh around Chase Headley’s run-scoring double in the sixth. Austin Romine hit a two-run single against All-Star setup man Brad Brach in the eighth, and Brett Gardner doubled in two runs off Oliver Drake.
Tyler Clippard (2-3) pitched a perfect eighth, and Dellin Betances struck out the side after an infield hit in the ninth. The Yankees sent the wild card-chasing Orioles to their second loss in eight games.
“I think everyone in there wants to finish strong,” said Headley, whose eighth-inning double down the right-field line set up Romine’s hit. “You play the game with integrity to try and make sure everybody has a fair shot.”
Third base coach Joe Espada gave Headley a stop sign on Romine’s hit, but Headley kept going after making contact with shortstop J.J. Hardy. Third base umpire Jim Reynolds signaled Headley should be allowed to score.
“It was obstruction. So I wasn’t real clear if I didn’t go home whether I’d be awarded home,” Headley said.
Playing his next-to-last game before retirement, Yankees slugger Mark Teixeira went 1 for 2 and left for a pinch runner after his fifth-inning single.
RF Aaron Judge, sidelined since a season-ending oblique strain, was back in the clubhouse. He hit .179 with four homers and 10 RBIs in 27 games after his Aug 13 call-up, striking out 42 times in 84 at-bats.
“The strikeouts are a concern,” Girardi said. “When he hits it, there’s a real good chance he’s going to hit it hard, and he’s going to have misses that go out of the ballpark, that’s the bottom line, because he’s so big and strong.”
New York is nearing its first season without having any complete games from its starting pitchers. The Yankees had one each in 2004, 2007 and 2009. Miami, Milwaukee and Toronto also had no complete games going into Saturday.
On the 55th anniversary of Roger Maris’ 61st home run, son Kevin Maris threw out the ceremonial first pitch, flanked by brothers Randy, Rich and Roger Jr.
DOWN ON THE FARM
Alex Rodriguez met with players at the Yankees minor league complex in Tampa, Florida, and worked with SSs Jorge Mateo and Gleyber Torres, and 3Bs Miguel Andujar and Kyle Holder, then stayed in the dugout for the instructional league game against Baltimore.
Cessa (4-3) is slated to start Sunday for New York against RHP Kevin Gausman (8-12).