The video above is Joe Girardi discussing the Yankees decision to call up Dellin Betances. If you watch it, you’ll notice two things: Girardi does not sound overly enthused by Betances’s minor league performance, and he makes it clear that Betances being stretched out is the key factor in the decision. Clearly, the fact Betances has a spot on the 40-man is the unspoken factor.
Today’s promotion is not a sign that Betances has figured it out or has taken a massive leap forward, it’s simply an acknowledgment that the Yankees need a rested mop-up man and Betances was the easiest option. The only other minor league pitchers on the 40-man are either hurt (Pineda, Cabral, Banuelos), in Double-A (Ramirez, Rondon, Turley) or not rested enough to actually pitch (Nuno). So, it’s Betances, called up essentially as a just-in-case replacement for Brett Marshall.
“Honestly, I was surprised (to get the call-up),” Betances said. “I got the call last night. I was watching the playoff basketball game and I had no idea, but I was happy about it. I’m just here to help in any role that they need me. If they call my name, I’ll be ready.”
The difficulty for Betances is neither new, nor is it a mystery. His stuff is terrific, but he has trouble repeating his delivery, which makes it hard to consistently throw strikes. Opponents are hitting just .202 against him, and he’s struck out 29 in 28.1 innings, but Betances has also walked 17, hit two batters and thrown four wild pitches. He’s pitched twice since converting to a reliever earlier this month. His first relief appearance was 2.1 hitless, scoreless innings with one walk and three strikeouts. His second, and most recent, was two innings with two hits, one run and no walks.
The move to the pen seems to be a bit of a Hail Mary — last year was a massive step in the wrong direction, and the command problems have carried over — but the Yankees are still hoping to find some way to get some consistency out of a very good arm.
“Last year was definitely a rough one for me,” Betances said. “I’m happy to be here and get the opportunity. I feel confident, and I feel like my last five or six appearances have been real good. I feel confidence and feel like I’m going in the right direction. For myself, I always feel like I could get back on track to where I need to be, and I feel like I’m real close.”
• Adam Warren pitched in Monday’s doubleheader. Girardi said Warren is available tonight, but the Yankees don’t want him to give too many innings. That’s part of the reason the Yankees needed Betances.
• The Mariners scratched Aaron Harang from his scheduled start. Instead, Hector Noesi will start against his former team.
• Travis Hafner took batting practice with the team today. He was hitting some balls into the right field seats. No additional information from the Yankees, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Hafner pinch hit tonight and start Saturday (he’ll probably sit against lefty Mark Buehrle on Friday).
• Hal Steinbrenner told Newsday’s Dave Lennon that he’s still hoping to cut payroll beneath $189 million next season, and this team’s surprising success seems to be reinforcing the idea that a team can win without overspending on players. “But the key is going to be the young players stepping up and really making contributions like they’re doing right now, several of them,” Steinbrenner said.
• Also in the Lennon story, Steinbrenner said he’s still having conversations about signing Robinson Cano to an extension.
Associated Press photo