Dellin Betances isn’t returning to the Yankees bullpen anytime soon. According to Aaron Boone, the right-hander suffered another setback down at the team complex in Tampa when he experienced shoulder soreness while throwing earlier this week. He’ll be sent back to New York for more tests on Monday.
The news on the injury front for the Yankees had been mostly positive over the past couple weeks, but the news on Betances doesn’t sound good at all.
Prior to the setback, Betances was rehabbing his way back from a shoulder impingement he suffered during spring training. He was on track to begin a rehab assignment very soon but now there’s no telling when we’ll see him back, if at all. We’ll have to wait and see what the tests show next week but at this point, I don’t think anyone would be surprised if he’s out for the rest of the year.
It’s hard to be optimistic given the circumstances but Aaron Boone if hopeful that the tests won’t reveal anything serious. Per Randy Miller of NJ.com:
"“He’s gone through testing down there in Tampa,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Saturday. “He saw the orthopedist, but we’re going to bring him back to New York.” “The original testing and all that was good, but I think we’ll want to run through some more and have him see Dr. Ahmad,” Boone said. “I’m hopeful it’s not serious, but we’ll know more in a couple days.”"
Shoulder injuries with pitchers especially are always scary so even if he returns the Yankees aren’t going to bring him back until after he goes through a lengthy rehab assignment and shows he’s 100% healthy. In the meantime, the Yankees will continue to go with the bullpen they have that’s done just fine without Betances so far.
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If there’s any pen in baseball that can still thrive without a reliever of his caliber it’s the Yankees. One of the main reasons why is due to the return to dominance by Tommy Kahnle. Kahnle was outstanding for the Yankees after they acquired before the trade deadline in 2017 but last season he really struggled in what was an injury-plagued campaign.
With his shoulder issues finally behind him his fastball velo is back up to its usual 97-98 mph. His wipeout changeup has also returned and been a nasty putaway pitch for him. Kahnle deserves some All-Star consideration in the coming weeks with his ERA of 1.48 and WHIP of 0.86.
In addition to Kahnle, Adam Ottavino has been just as unhittable out of the pen and has proven to be one of the best free agents signings of the offseason. Zach Britton has been solid after re-signing with the Yanks and Aroldis Chapman has been pretty much automatic closing things out.
Obviously getting Betances back at some point in the second half would be huge but with those four guys leading the way, the Yankee pen should continue to be among the best in baseball. They still have more than enough to help them make a deep postseason run in October.