Results tagged ‘ Dellin Betances ’

David Robertson impressed by Dellin Betances’ breakout season

Dellin BetancesOne of the best compliments that you could give to David Robertson’s season is that Mariano Rivera’s name has not come up very often, but just as much, the new closer has enjoyed watching Dellin Betances’ explosion into a premier setup man.

Even Robertson, having a fine year in his own right, was wowed by Betances’ appearance on Saturday at Fenway Park. The stadium scoreboard clocked two of Betances’ eighth-inning fastballs at 101 mph.

“How could you not have fun watching that?” Robertson said. “He threw 101. Wow! I’m lucky if I hit 93 and he’s pumping it in at 101.”

Betances’ 13.22 strikeouts per nine innings in 48 relief appearances (spanning 65 1/3 innings) are the highest mark in the Majors this season, as the right-hander has learned how to harness his two-pitch repertoire into terrific results.

“I definitely think he’s exceeded [expectations],” manager Joe Girardi said. “We knew he had great stuff. We knew this would be a year he had never really experienced before, in a sense, if he got on a roll. And that’s what he’s done.”

Robertson said that Betances’ electric stuff stands out, but there is still learning on the job. Betances was developed as a starting pitcher before being transitioned to the bullpen in the Minors back in 2012.

“You do have to get used to that workload,” Robertson said. “It takes a little bit of time. Obviously you need to figure out your body first; that was my biggest key. When I’m throwing 70 or 65 appearances a year, some of them come on back-to-back-to-back days, you have to be ready to say when we play catch, just play a little bit.

“You just know that your arm feels good and you can go out there and do the job you’re supposed to do.”


Masahiro TanakaThere will be a significant checkpoint in Masahiro Tanaka’s recovery on Monday, when the right-hander is scheduled to report to Yankee Stadium and could play catch for the first time since his right elbow injury.

Monday marks the three-week point from the date that Tanaka received a platelet-rich plasma injection, which the team hoped would promote healing of his partially torn ulnar collateral ligament.

“We’ll see tomorrow what everyone wants to do with him, but as we said, three weeks is the mark,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He feels good, so we’ll see what we do.”

Tanaka, 25, saw team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad on Friday in New York and no issues were reported.

The injury interrupted a terrific debut season for Tanaka, who was 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA in his first 18 big league starts, earning selection as an American League All-Star. He was hurt in a July 8 start against the Indians in Cleveland, and is hoping to avoid season-ending Tommy John surgery.

When the injury was diagnosed last month, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that the best-case scenario of the prescribed rehab program would get Tanaka back on a Major League mound in six weeks.

It seems more likely, though, that Tanaka would return in September if he does make it back to the Majors in 2014. There is a long road ahead; essentially, what would be a second Spring Training for Tanaka.

“It’s not starting all over, because he’s been built up (stamina-wise),” Girardi said. “But it’ll be probably 60 feet, and then 60 and 90, and 90 and 120, then flat ground and bullpen and probably a rehab game.”


Michael PinedaMichael Pineda could be two starts away from re-joining the Yankees’ big league rotation.

Pineda worked 3 1/3 scoreless innings in a Minor League rehab start for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre against Syracuse on Sunday, scattering three hits with a walk and four strikeouts.

“He threw the ball pretty well,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We’re pleased with the progress that he’s making and we’ll take another step.”

The right-hander, who has not pitched in the big leagues since April 23 because of a strained teres major muscle behind his pitching shoulder, tossed 58 pitches (37 for strikes).

Pineda’s next rehab start will come on Friday for a team yet to be determined, and he will throw about 75 pitches. Girardi said that Pineda would likely make one rehab start after that, increasing to 90 pitches, and then would be considered big league ready.

“At that point, you would feel from a pitch count he’s ready to join us,” Girardi said.


The Yankees were briefly concerned when Betances slipped on the mound in the eighth inning of Saturday’s 6-4 Yankees win over the Red Sox. He was fine, but it probably won’t be the last time you see the 6-foot-8 hurler overstride; Betances said that it can be difficult for him to keep his mechanics intact, but he’s working on it.

“I think I told you guys, it’s going to happen more than once and I’m sure it will happen again,” Betances said. “I slipped a little bit, and I tried to hold myself with the glove and I wasn’t able to do that. I just tried to make it look as good as possible, but it was not good.”


Carlos Beltran entered play on Sunday hitting .375 (21-for-56) with four homers and 12 RBIs in his last 15 games since July 18, a sign that the discomfort in his right elbow has been manageable.

“I think he’s just being the player that we thought he would be,” Girardi said. “It was just a matter of time, but I’m sure (the elbow) has something to do with that, and maybe getting used to the brace as well.”


On this date in 1959, Yogi Berra connected for his first and only All-Star Game home run. The third-inning blast off the Dodgers’ Don Drysdale helped to lead the American League to a 5-3 victory at Los Angeles’ Memorial Coliseum.

Will the Yankees get their reinforcements?

Brian Cashman has said that he has “more work to do” in preparing the Yankees’ roster for a playoff run, and if the general manager is able to cross the finish line on anything, there could be new faces in the clubhouse on Friday at Fenway Park.

Possibilities continue to float with Thursday’s non-waivers Trade Deadline approaching, and while manager Joe Girardi is keeping an eye on transactions around the league, he isn’t counting on anything as an absolute lock to happen with his club.

“Not necessarily, no,” Girardi said. “There’s less than 24 hours if something’s going to happen. You do expect that there’s going to be some movement in baseball. A lot of times there’s more talked about than actually done. We’ll wait to see what happens.”

Cashman has expressed desires for a big bat as well as a starting pitcher; on the hitting front, the Yankees are known to have touched base about the Phillies’ Marlon Byrd and the Twins’ Josh Willingham. The Rangers’ Alex Rios is also on the block.

There have been links between the Yankees and the White Sox about left-hander John Danks, but it appears that interest in bringing the Padres’ Ian Kennedy back to New York was overstated. CBSSports.com reported Wednesday that the Yankees inquired about Padres reliever Joaquin Benoit.

The Yankees have already added starters Brandon McCarthy and Chris Capuano, plus infielder Chase Headley, in deals completed this month.

“We talk about things, but I know that he’s very busy this time of year,” Girardi said. “If something gets close, we usually hear about it. I don’t expect an update every hour. That would drive him crazy and he wouldn’t be able to get anything done. So I just let him do his thing. When he calls me, I say, ‘OK.'”


The Yankees have been able to count on the back end of their season most nights this season, which is why it was so concerning to see Adam Warren, Dellin Betances and David Robertson struggle in succession on Tuesday against the Rangers.

Girardi has tried to give his late-inning hurlers rest whenever possible, but with the team playing so many tight games, that hasn’t been an easy task.

“You hope that off days come at the right time, you get some distance out of your starters, and you’ve just got to manage it,” Girardi said. “I’ll manage it like I have the whole year. You know that you can’t overwork them or you’re not going to get the same production.”

Warren took over for starter Brandon McCarthy in the seventh inning, holding a 10-4 lead, but issued two walks and permitted a hit to leave a bases-loaded situation for Dellin Betances, who served up a grand slam to Texas’ J.P. Arencibia.

“Mechanically, I just felt off,” Warren said. “It was really strange. I usually take pride in my mechanics. I just felt out of sync and couldn’t get on top of the ball. Especially in that situation you want to come in and pound the zone, get some quick outs, and I just couldn’t do that.”

Warren and Betances, converted starting pitchers who have made 48 and 47 appearances, respectively, both said that they do not believe fatigue is an issue. Betances pointed out that he rebounded after Leonys Martin’s triple to record two strikeouts around a walk, escaping the inning.

“I feel good, man. I feel great,” Betances said. “It was a tough one for me. It’s going to happen. Even after I gave up that home run, even after the triple, I was able to hold it right there. It could have been worse.”

Girardi said that he does not plan to use the trio of relievers much differently over the final two months of the regular season.

“We’ve been pretty good about giving them the days when we need the days, giving them two days when they need two days,” Girardi said. “[I'm] looking at what they’ve done in the past and having an idea how many innings they’ve thrown, and just trying to manage it that way.”


One day after Girardi said that Brian Roberts has looked “beat up” to him and could use a couple of days off, the veteran second baseman said that he is dealing with normal bumps and bruises, nothing out of the ordinary.

“I hope it pays off, sure. I’m not 20 anymore,” Roberts said. “Nobody wants days off, but you trust the people in charge to make decisions that hopefully benefit everybody. Hopefully that’s what happens.”

Roberts, 36, is batting .237 with five home runs and 21 RBIs in 91 games. That is Roberts’ highest games played total since 2009 with the Orioles, a fact that Roberts said Girardi pointed out in their pre-game chat Tuesday.

“He said, ‘I just think it’s a good time to give you a couple of days,'” Roberts said. “It’s not my place to argue. I just work here. I’ll play when they put me in the lineup. If Friday is the day, then I’ll be ready to go.”


Brian McCann was out of the Yankees’ lineup on Wednesday, with Francisco Cervelli catching. McCann said that it was just a scheduled day off, and manager Joe Girardi said that he planned it this way to give McCann two days off with Thursday’s travel day.

Girardi said that he was giving Ichiro Suzuki a day off for the same reason, playing Zoilo Almonte in right field.

“I’m sure it will probably help all of our guys at this point in the season,” Girardi said. “As I’ve said, we have some age on our team, and you feel that you have to manage it.”


On this date in 2011, the Yankees scored a franchise record 12 first-inning runs in a 17-3 win over the Orioles, sending 16 men to the plate. 13 reached base, with seven singles, two doubles, a homer, a walk and an error.

Brian McCann disagrees with Terry Pendleton’s comments

Brian McCannBrian McCann’s first few months in a Yankees uniform have not lived up to his expectations, but the veteran catcher isn’t on board with the idea that he might just not be cut out to play in New York.

McCann awoke on Tuesday to a few text messages alerting him to a story in the New York Post, where Braves coach Terry Pendleton was quoted as saying that he thinks McCann “will never be comfortable” as a Yankee.

“I read the article. I disagree,” McCann said. “I absolutely love it here. I’ve got off to a slow start, but I absolutely love it here.”

Pendleton told the newspaper that he believed that McCann would wind up with either the Yankees or the Rangers this offseason. McCann jumped at the Yankees’ offer early in the winter, inking a five-year, $85 million pact.

“New York is not Brian,” said Pendleton, who said he thought McCann would be more comfortable in Texas. “That’s my opinion. I knew if he chose New York, there would be more than he expected or knew about. He’ll never be comfortable with that.”

Despite his Georgia roots, McCann said that adjusting to life as a Yankee has not been difficult.

“I really haven’t noticed a big difference,” McCann said. “It’s still baseball. It’s still you put a uniform on, you go out and put your best foot forward. That’s what I’m doing.

“It just hasn’t gone quite like I wish it would, but at the same time, we’ve got a whole half of baseball left. We’re in a pennant race and those are the things that I’m focused on.”

Pendleton said that he believes McCann’s contract has been “hanging over his head,” with his $17 million average annual salary ranking as the largest issued to a free agent catcher.

“Not at all,” McCann replied. “Not one bit.”

Pendleton also said that McCann has become a pull hitter over the last three or so years, but believes that he will be able to relax and get back to what he is capable of doing. McCann recently changed his batting stance, eliminating a toe-tap.

“If I’m sitting here hitting .300, this isn’t a story,” McCann said. “But I’m not, and at the same time, I feel like I’ve gotten some mechanical things ironed out. I’m back to attacking the baseball, and the last four or five games I’ve felt like myself.”

McCann said that he last spoke to Pendleton during Spring Training, and that he had not decided if he would call the former big league infielder to talk about the story.

“The only part of the article [that bothered me] that I’m not a New York guy, that’s the only part that I didn’t like,” McCann said. “I absolutely love it here and it’s been great so far.”


Carlos Beltran said that the swelling behind his right knee has improved, but the Yankees switch-hitter remained out of the lineup for a second straight game on Tuesday.

Beltran said that he could be available to pinch-hit, and that the Yankees were looking at Tuesday as a ‘safety day’ before getting him back on the field. Beltran has been limited to duty as a designated hitter since hyperextending his elbow in April.

“I woke up feeling better,” Beltran said. “I’m going to go hit BP and do everything today, just to go through the whole program. But I feel a lot better. Just being able to wake up feeling better, I feel good.”

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he hopes to have Beltran in the lineup on Wednesday.


Shane Greene celebrated his first big league victory on Monday, hurling six innings of two-run ball in a 5-3 win over the Indians, and it earned him another start. Greene is scheduled to pitch on Saturday against the Orioles in Baltimore, with Chase Whitley moved to bullpen duty.

“It’s a combination of everything. He did a really good job last night,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Giving Whit a little break will help him and maybe re-energize him as well.”


Greene earned his first Major League win on the same night as Dellin Betances recorded his first Major League save on Tuesday. That marked the third time that has happened involving Yankees pitchers, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Al Closter and Fritz Peterson did it in 1971, and Vidal Nuno and Adam Warren did it earlier this season.

Carlos Beltran out of lineup with swollen knee

Hello from Cleveland’s Progressive Field, where the Yankees and Indians are set to open a four-game series this evening. Here are the quick hits from this evening’s notebook:

Brian McCann, Carlos BeltranCarlos Beltran was held out of the Yankees’ lineup on Monday after the switch-hitter reported mild swelling in the back of his right knee, according to manager Joe Girardi.

Beltran is scheduled to be seen by the Indians’ team doctor at Progressive Field on Monday, but Girardi said that the Yankees have not planned any other tests.

“We’re going to give him a day off. I’ll find out later on if he’s available to pinch-hit,” Girardi said. “He’ll see their doctor today and see what they think. Not a lot, but just a little bit.”

Beltran has eight hits in his last 30 at-bats, raising his average to .216 with nine home runs and 28 RBIs in 61 games.

“He’s been swinging the bat better,” Girardi said. “Obviously, he’s a switch-hitter that we put between our lefties and has power. He’s a run producer. It is something that we’ll miss tonight. Hopefully we get him back in there tomorrow.”


For Derek Jeter, return visits to the facility now known as Progressive Field will always produce memories of Opening Day 1996, which teammate David Cone would later refer to as Jeter’s “coming-out party.”

Jeter hit his first Major League home run, a fifth-inning solo homer off the Indians’ Dennis Martinez, and contributed a sharp catch on an Omar Vizquel pop-up in the Yankees’ 7-1 victory that afternoon.

“Your first Opening Day is pretty memorable, pretty special,” Jeter said. “I was excited for that day. We got snowed out the day before, so we had to wait a while; it seemed like we had to wait forever to get that first one underway.”

Earlier this year, Jeter said that he ranks that April 2, 1996 contest as one of his two favorite Opening Days; the other was the Yankees’ 1996 home opener, better remembered as the Andy Pettitte snow game against the Royals.

“I like playing here. I like this stadium,” Jeter said. “I’ve always liked coming here and playing. We’ve had some great battles with some really, really good Cleveland teams. They beat us in ’97, we came back and beat them in ’98. I enjoy coming here. It’s a nice stadium and the fans have always been great.”


Dellin BetancesWhen Dellin Betances reported to Spring Training, the Yankees had hoped that the hard-throwing right-hander would be able to put it all together, but it was a late March outing against the Blue Jays that made Joe Girardi really believe it was happening.

As Girardi recalled on Monday, a March 23 outing at George M. Steinbrenner Field made the Yanks’ coaches take notice. Betances entered with the bases loaded in the seventh inning, leaving them that way by striking out Jose Bautista looking and getting Edwin Encarnacion to fly out to left field.

“He came in the bases loaded and was dominant,” Girardi said. “I thought, ‘You know what, maybe it’s clicking.’ … You could see that there was deception there and they didn’t see the ball real well off of him.”

Betances was named as one of the Yankees’ three All-Stars on Sunday, joining Derek Jeter and Masahiro Tanaka. He has a 1.61 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 37 appearances, and was selected to the squad by the player vote.

“It’s crazy, man,” Betances said. “I worked hard this offseason, had a lot of guys that helped me. I just felt ready coming into the spring. My job was to make the team, but now to be here on this day, to be an All-Star this year, I’m honored.”


Right-hander Brandon McCarthy, who was acquired in a trade from the D-backs on Sunday in exchange for left-hander Vidal Nuno, is expected to join the Yankees on Tuesday. McCarthy is scheduled to make his Yankees debut against the Indians on Wednesday.


Girardi said that he believes closer David Robertson (2.93 ERA in 26 appearances, 21-for-23 in save opportunities) deserved to be selected as an All-Star, and Girardi hopes that there is still time for that to happen.

“Obviously there’s always people that have to bow out,” he said. “I’ve said it all along; if you like people that strike people out in key situations, he’s pretty good at it. You take away his one outing against Minnesota, his numbers are as good as anyone’s in baseball. And from a strikeout ratio, even better.”


Right-hander Michael Pineda has progressed to playing catch at 90 feet. The Yankees hope to have him throw from a mound by the end of this week, with a mid-August return to the big leagues standing as his best-case scenario.

Thursday’s camp notes: Youk “always a Red Sock”

Kevin Youkilis, David OrtizIt’s probably not the best way to endear yourself to a new fan base, but hey, let’s at least give Kevin Youkilis some points for honesty.

The new Yankee and former Red Sox third baseman briefly stopped by George M. Steinbrenner this afternoon to check out his locker assignment and drop off a few items, spotting his No. 36 jersey hanging alongside a few pairs of pinstriped pants.

This is the new reality for Youkilis, who is clean-shaven to satisfy team regulations and sounded like a Yankee when he said that he’s just here to “go out there every day and play hard and try to win a World Series.”

Oh, but nothing in the fine print of his one-year, $12 million deal with the Yankees mandated that he must put his Red Sox history through the shredder, and so Youkilis made it clear that part of him will always belong in Boston.

“To negate all the years I played for the Boston Red Sox and all the tradition, you look at all the stuff I have piled up at my house and to say I’d just throw it out the window — it’s not true,” Youkilis said. “I’ll always be a Red Sock.”

That quote won’t win Youkilis many friends among a fan base that, judging by early Internet reaction, seems to be unconvinced about his addition. But here’s what might win them over: if Youkilis is healthy and productive for New York, the same blue-collar qualities that made Youkilis such a frustrating opponent over the years are exactly what Yankees fans have been asking for.

Think about it — how many times have we heard the talk-radio rants that the Yankees need more players with Paul O’Neill’s brand of intensity, the unbridled fury it takes to assault a bat rack or water cooler without a second thought about the millions watching at home? Youkilis can be that guy. In other words…

“I’ll never be Alex Rodriguez,” Youkilis said. “I mean, Alex Rodriguez is one of the best hitters of all-time. I’m not going to be that same guy. But I can be a good Major League player who can help the team win, and that’s all you’ve got to do.”

Here’s some more of Thursday’s notes and quotes from Tampa:

  • Newly acquired right-hander Shawn Kelley is expected to join the team shortly after being traded by the Mariners on Wednesday evening. Kelley is a power arm with a plus slider and figures to compete with Cody Eppley for a bullpen role. He has a Minor League option remaining, so he could also start the year at Triple-A.
  • Don’t leave the lights on for Alex Rodriguez here in Tampa; Brian Cashman said that A-Rod will not join the Yankees at any time this spring. He’s supposed to arrive in New York tomorrow from Miami to continue his rehab, so it sounds like the earliest anyone might see him around the ballpark is April 1 against the Red Sox.
  • As we discussed earlier on the blog, Michael Pineda has progressed to throwing full mound sessions and the Yankees are optimistic that he could be helping at the big league level in late May or June. A lot can happen between now and then, and setbacks are an expected part of the process, but he’s on track so far. Pineda will start throwing to hitters in March, but isn’t expected to pitch in any Spring Training games.
  • Dellin Betances took a step backward last season, but the Yankees haven’t given up hope on the hulking right-hander, hoping that a good showing in the Arizona Fall League can right his ship. Cashman said that the power, physicality and stuff are all there for Betances. One glaring problem has been fastball command, which is why Betances found himself demoted to Double-A Trenton last year.
  • Ivan Nova said he doesn’t know why his strikeout rate jumped to 8.1 per nine innings last season after he posted 5.3 strikeouts per nine innings in 2011. He said he was just trying to pitch his game, not worrying about strikeouts. The number that still bothered Nova was his 5.02 ERA; the Yankees have scored him plenty of runs, but that’s too many to ask.
  • Funny note from Girardi, who was recounting the uncomfortable moment he had to tell Nova that they were leaving him off the playoff rosters last year: “It’s not like he flipped my desk over or I felt threatened, but I could see the disappointment. I have a pretty big desk.”
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