Yankees: Dellin Betances’ return off the IL couldn’t have gone any better
Dellin Betances finally made his season debut on Sunday In Toronto after missing the first 5 1/2 months of the season due to injury and he looked really good. The Yankees right-hander struck out the only two batters he faced as he continues to build up his arm strength with the playoffs right around the corner.
With just 11 games to go in the season, Betances doesn’t have a lot of time to regain his All-Star form before the postseason begins but he got off to a good start with his performance on Sunday. Even though his fastball isn’t touching 98 to 100 mph like we’re used to seeing the Yankees have to be encouraged by how he threw the ball.
Betances struck out both Reese Maguire and former teammate Brandon Drury looking and he did it on only eight pitches with seven of them being thrown for strikes. His fastball velocity was down but it was still consistently at 94 to 95 mph and his control was very good.
His signature slider sat around 84 mph, but it was filthy as usual as he featured it to lock up Drury looking on his final pitch of the day. He painted a fastball on the outside corner at 95 mph to finish off Maguire first which is something he’s going to have to do more of if he’s unable to reach the high 90s moving forward.
During the postgame, Betances discussed how he felt after his first outing and didn’t seem all that concerned with his velocity or lack thereof. Per James Wagner of the New York Times:
"Arm strength, I’m still not where I want to be, but it’s definitely better than what I was early in the season, and I’m happy where I’m at right now,” he said, adding later, “I’ve got two weeks to get it right.”"
As he pointed out there are still two weeks left in the season so he has a little more time to get back into a rhythm and work on increasing his velocity. If you remember his fastball was only topping out at 91 to 92 mph during Spring Training before he suffered his shoulder impingement so he’s come a long way and as he gets more reps he’ll continue to throw harder.
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I think the biggest takeaway from his debut was how good his control was because that’s always been an area of concern with Dellin when he’s going through a rough stretch. It was one outing and he’s only faced two hitters, but at this point in the season, you want to have good results as soon as possible.
In the case of Jordan Montgomery who struggled during his season debut Sunday, the Yankees aren’t really worried about results because he’s probably not going to be on the postseason roster. Betances definitely is and if he can continue to build off this outing he’s going to play a huge role in October.
It will be interesting to see how often the Yankees will use Betances for the rest of the regular season because at some point they’re probably going to have to see how he responds to pitching in back to back games. That will be a big test for him and a necessary one for him to take before the ALDS begins on October 4th.