After one spring appearance, Dellin Betances has the New York Yankees and their fans in a panic, wondering where his velocity went.
The positive spin is that Betances threw a clean inning in his first outing of spring on Tuesday. The negative side of this story is that his fastball topped out at a measly 91 mph; the same pitch registered as low as 88 mph.
However, the big righty isn’t the least bit concerned. Per the New York Post’s George A. King III, Betances indicated that he had the same problem in past camps.
“Early in spring training it takes time for me to get going,’’ he told King. “I am not worried about it. It’s been a topic for a couple of years in the spring.’’
One possible reason for the issue is that Betances is a brand-new father. The Feb. 13 birth of Dellin Jr. delayed the 30-year-old’s arrival to Yankees camp, and his velocity may need time to warm up.
Word on the street is that the Bombers are discussing a contract extension for Betances. Brian Cashman would be wise to wait a beat, just to make sure his All-Star reliever’s fastball recovers its juice.
Betances is entering his sixth full year in the big leagues. He’s been a constant force at the end of games, and he owns a career 2.36 ERA as proof.
If the dip in pitch speed does indicate a serious problem, the Yankees have plenty of reinforcements in the pen.
The team went on a reliever spending spree in the offseason, bringing in Zack Britton and Adam Ottavino. If Betances can’t do the job, there will still be a pretty sturdy bridge to closer Aroldis Chapman.