TAMPA — At 20 years old and with only 11 games (six starts) above Double-A, Deivi Garcia is a long shot to join the Yankees’ starting rotation when the season opens despite the possibility there might be two openings because of Paxton’s back surgery and the soreness in Luis Severino’s right forearm.
Garcia, a 5-foot-9, 163-pound right-hander who worked at Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A last year, when he struck out 165 batters and gave up 96 hits in 111¹/₃ innings, threw live batting practice Thursday at Steinbrenner Field and was impressive.
“There are young arms that kind of emerge and guys that you can kind of dream on and get excited about,’’ manager Aaron Boone said Thursday. “Deivi is certainly one of those guys. I feel like he is in a good place right now.’’
With Jordan Montgomery — who broke Luke Voit’s bat during batting practice — the favorite to take Paxton’s spot and the possibility of Severino not being ready by the start of the season, the Yankees possibly will need a second replacement in the rotation. And while Yankees brass is high on Garcia, he might not be ahead of Jonathan Loaisiga or Mike King.
As for Severino, the…