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Interview With White Sox Pitcher Anderson Severino

by Thatcher Zalewski

Before the lockout, the White Sox added 27-year-old left-handed pitcher Anderson Severino to the 40 man roster. Originally, Severino was signed by the New York Yankees as an international free agent back in 2013. After pitching with the Yankees through the 2019 season, Severino was brought in on a minor league deal by the White Sox during the 2020-2021 offseason.

Severino has posted some pretty impressive numbers since coming over to the South Side. He had an ERA of 2.96 across two levels in 2021, while posting a career-low 0.64 ERA with the Charlotte Knights in 14 innings. This is pretty notable due to Charlotte being a hitter’s park. During his time in the minors this past year, Severino had a K/9 of 10.4, which is again the highest in his career since 2017. Without a doubt, Severino will be invited to Spring Training once the lockout ends.

Anderson took some time to discuss his first season with the White Sox, life and baseball in the Dominican Republic, goals for his 2022 season, and much more with us!

To start, tell the readers about yourself. When did you start playing baseball, and when did you decide that you wanted to make a career out of the game? Were you always a pitcher?

Empece a jugar béisbol a los 11 años. A los 15 años decidí ya tomar enserio la pelota porque quería ser profesional. En el comienzo jugaba CF y picher pero a los 14 ya me puse full time picher.

Translation: I started playing baseball at age 11. At the age of 15, I decided to take baseball seriously because I wanted to be a professional. In the beginning, I played CF and pitcher, but at 14 [years old], I had already become a full-time pitcher.

You grew up in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Who were your idols? What are your favorite memories from your childhood? Did you know any other baseball players growing up?

Mis ídolos eran Ken Griffey, Jr y Alex Rodríguez. Cuando a mis 11 años un 6 de enero del dije a mi padre que no me regale juegos, que me quería jugar pelota y que me apunte en una liga para yo jugar pelota. No con todos los que jugué ningunos pudieron seguir jugando.

Translation: My idols were Ken Griffey, Jr. and Alex Rodriguez. [My favorite memory is] when I was 11 years old, on January 6th, I told my father not to give me games. [Instead, I told him] that I wanted to play baseball, and that I had picked a league in which I wanted to play baseball.

[Unforunately], I did not play baseball with anyone [growing up] who continued to play the game [later in life].

In 2021, you played your first season with the White Sox organization. Why did you decide to sign with the White Sox? What was your experience like with the White Sox this year – do you have any favorite memories or funny stories?

Tenía varias ofertas y pensé con mi familia cual era el mejor equipo que tenía más chanse de jugar grande ligas y decidí jugar para Chicago y a sido una de las mejores decisiones que e tomado en mi carrera. Fue una experiencia inolvidable la mejor temporada de mi vida.

Mi recuerdo recuerdo favorito es de este año fue mi primer juego en AA lance mi primer juego tire 21 picheos y solo tire 3 strike y di 4 BB cuando terminó el juego llegue a la casa y me puse a llorar en la habitación amanecí llorando desde las 11 de la noche hasta las 7 am. Que fue la hora que pude dejar de llorar y me dormir gracias a mi compañero. Que estaban con migo me apoyaron en todo momento en esas horas de llantos y yo le decía que me dejarían libre si sigo pichando así en primer mes de la temporada y ellos me decían tranquilo que esta es solo la primera salida mañana vamos al play y empieza todo desde 0.

Translation: I had several offers [when I was a free agent], and I spent time thinking with my family to figure out which was the best team I had a chance to get to the major leagues with. I decided to play for Chicago, and it was one of the best decisions I made in my career. It has been an unforgettable experience, [and 2021 was] the best season of my life.

My favorite memory is from this year. It was my first game in AA, and in my first game, I threw 21 total pitches and only 3 total strikes. I walked 4 batters, and when the game ended, I went back to my house and cried in my room from 11 pm to 7 am. That’s when I stopped crying and was able to sleep, thanks to my roommate (friend). He was there with me and supported me during all those hours of crying. I told him that [the White Sox] would release me if I continued to play like that throughout the first month of the season, and he told me calmly that it was only the first experience [for me]. The next day, when we went to the field, he said everything starts over (at zero) again.

Last season, you played at two levels (AA and AAA) and were added to the 40-man roster. As you have played more baseball in the United States, how have you learned to adjust to new challenges? Are there certain teammates or coaches that have really helped you in the minor leagues?

Al principio todo fue difícil porque estaba en un nuevo equipo no conocía a nadie no tenía amigos y nunca hubiera jugado en contra de ellos pero cuando fue pasando los días y las semanas en los entrenamientos pero lo mejor de todos es tener buena relación con todos los muchachos y los entrenadores. Mis compañeros de equipo de este año me ayudaron bastante gracias a 2 de ellos tuve la mejor temporada de mi carrera siempre estaban arriba de mí en los primeros meses difíciles porque estaba teniendo una temporada pésima pero ellos me seguían animando y aconsejándome y a todos los consejos de ellos mira cómo termine mi año y le doy gracias a los entrenadores que aportaron un granito cada uno y le doy gracias a mi equipo de trabajo en off season.

Translation: At first everything was difficult because I was on a new team, I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t have any friends, and I had never played against anyone on my team before, though we had spent days and weeks training. However, the most important thing of all is to have good relationships with everyone – players and coaches.

My teammates this year helped me a lot; thanks to 2 of them, I had the best season of my career. They were always there to help me in the first few difficult months as I was having a rough season, and they kept encouraging me and advising me. As I looked back at the end of the year, I am grateful for their advice, and for the coaches who helped me every day. I am also thankful for the team I get to work with during the offseason.

You are currently playing for Los Leones del Escogido in the Dominican Winter Baseball League. How is this league different from the minor leagues in the United States? Do you enjoy playing in this league during the winter, and does it help you to train and prepare for the next season? 

Los veteranos en la liga invernal tú te vas a enfrentar a bateadores que tienen 12 y hasta 15 años jugando pelota grande ligas de muchos años por ejemplo este año en mi equipo tenía persona de nombre como Fernando Rodney, Pedro Strop, Jumbo Díaz, Albert Pujols teníamos jóvenes como Esteban Florio Francy Cordero,  personas jóvenes y personas veteranas de muchos años en béisbol. Pero la pelota de aquí es más picante emocionante se perrean los palos los out las carreras y algo qué hay menos margen de chanse si fallas 2 veces como picher está peligrando tu trabajo en el equipo porque en la pelota invernal no se desarrollan peloteros ellos le importan ganar siempre. Si me gusta jugar pelota invernal porque aprendes mucho y tienes muchas personas veteranas que te enseñan muchas cosas. Si ayuda mucho porque hay tienes el chance de trabajar algo que necesitas mejorar en tu juego.

Translation: The veterans in the winter league that you are going to face are batters who have played 12 to 15 years in the major leagues. For example, this year on my team, I had teammates like Fernando Rodney, Pedro Strop, Jumbo Diaz, and Albert Pujols. [At the same time], we also had younger players like Franchy Cordero and Estevan Florio – a combination of young players and veterans with many years in the game.

However, baseball here is the ball here is hotter and more exciting – however, there is a smaller margin for error. If you fail twice as a pitcher, you are in danger of losing your role on the team because, in winter ball, they are not working on developing players – they are there to win. I like to play winter ball because you learn a lot and you have many veterans who teach you a lot. It helps a lot because you have the chance to work on something you need to improve in your game [during the winter].

Because you played in AAA, you are very close to the major leagues. What do you feel is the biggest thing you need to do to take to be ready for major league baseball? How do you plan to make this step? Do you think you can be in the major leagues this year?

Necesito seguir mejorando mi comando con la recta. Estoy trabajando la resistencia con mucha agilidad para seguir siendo un buen defensor y seguir teniendo la habilidad de poder moverme en la loma. Si Dios lo permite será así toy trabajando muy duro para cuando me den la oportunidad estar preparado para competir por un puesto en los entrenamientos.

Translation: I need to continue to improve my command. I am working throughout the lockout with a lot of activity to remain a good player and have the ability to move up into the majors. If God allows it, [I will be in the major leagues next year], but I will be working very hard for the opportunity and will be prepared to compete for a job in Spring Training.

What do you like to do when you aren’t playing baseball? Do you have any hobbies that you enjoy?

Me gusta mucho comer jugar Nintendo dedicarle tiempo a mi familia. Disfruta mi país.

Translation: I really like to eat, play Nintendo, and spend time with my family. I enjoy being back home in my county [the Dominican Republic].

Lastly, do you have any advice for younger players who are hoping to be where you are one day?

Que trabajando fuerte y den el 100% a las 2 o 3 horas del día que tienen para jugar pelota que nada es fácil en la vida que va a ver muchos meníngea buenos y muchos momentos malos pero de los errores que aprenda y no vuelvan a cometerlo y que tenga disciplina y suerte luchen por sus sueños

Translation: [My best advice is to make sure] they work hard and give 100% for those 2 or 3 hours a day they have to play baseball. Nothing is easy in life; you will see many great moments and many bad moments. But the worst mistake you can make [as a player] is to not learn from your mistakes and not remain committed. You must have discipline and fight hard for your dreams.

On behalf of the entire Sox On 35th team, I want to thank Anderson for taking the time to answer our questions so our fans could get to know him a bit better! It was great to hear his insight on the game of baseball and how he has been staying ready for the upcoming season.

As the White Sox make their final roster decisions come Opening Day, here’s hoping that Anderson has a successful spring and can prove himself and find a way to make himself part of the White Sox future.

You can follow Anderson Severino on Instagram @anderson_severino1 – go show him some support! 

Follow us @SoxOn35th for more updates!

Featured Photo: @laurawolffphoto/Twitter

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