On the morning before his first Major League call-up, Dellin Betances went to the street in front of his New Jersey home and played catch with his older brother Anthony. On the day before he became a big leaguer, he was just a kid throwing a baseball in the road.
“Just 10 minutes,” Dellin said. “Just regular catch, and then he squatted down for a little flat ground. After that, just showered and got ready to come here.”
On his first day on the Yankees active roster, Betances had a locker along the back wall in Anaheim, and he seemed to be in full just-happy-to-be-here mode. He’s not sure when he’ll pitch — even Joe Girardi’s not sure when he’ll pitch — but having a place in that clubhouse was obviously an important step.
“I grew up in New York,” Betances said. “Born in New York and raised, and being a Yankee fan to now coming here and wearing the uniform is a great, great feeling… It was just one of those years, an up-and-down year, but I definitely accomplished my goals which was to come here and stay healthy throughout the year. Those two goals were my main focus, and thank God everything has gone well.”
It hasn’t been a perfect year for Betances — he walked a lot of guys, July was a legitimately bad month, his Triple-A stint was uneven — but he believes he’s better because of it. When Jesus Montero was called up, Girardi talked about wanting young players to struggle in the minor leagues. It’s part of the growth process.
“I feel like I learned how to pitch in situations,” Betances said. “Runners on, try to make quality pitches. I think halfway through the year I had a little bump that I kept giving up runs, and I just tried to focus on (when there are) guys in scoring position, just try to make pitches and get those guys out. That’s one of the things, I think I’ve gotten mentally tougher. It’s been a battle, but I’m definitely happy to be here now with these guys. It’s kind of a surreal feeling.
“When they called my name I didn’t believe it, and I still can’t believe I’m here. Maybe when I go out on the field it will hit me.”