Add another injured Yankee to the list. Brian Cashman announced today that Dellin Betances will begin the regular season on the injured list with an impingement and inflammation in his shoulder. He had an MRI earlier today and was given anti-inflammatories. Cashman called it a “time out” more than a complete shutdown like Luis Severino, but he didn’t give a timetable for Dellin’s return.
Here’s what Cashman about the Betances injury (via Brendan Kuty):
“It’s like he’s working against himself, is what we think he’s doing now. He’s trying to force things through and it’s causing more inflammation and it’s preventing him from being fully loose and engaged and we need to call time out. It’s as simple as that. We feel it’s resolvable. Our worry is only that we don’t have him from the beginning. There’s not a worry past that. Unfortunately, since Opening Day is coming, there’s always that feeling that everything has to be perfect or everybody has to be ready to go or in play. We’ve been around long enough to know it doesn’t have to be that way and it shouldn’t be that way. What we need to do is make sure we have him right.”
Betances, 31 this weekend, reported to Spring Training a few days late following the birth of his son, and he’s been playing catch-up ever since. He is typically a slow starter velocity-wise but it has been way down this month — his six fastballs in his most recent outing checked in at 89, 88, 89, 90, 92, and 90 mph — and the Yankees finally got him to admit he doesn’t feel quite right.
A shoulder injury is never good news and Betances did miss time with a shoulder problem in the minors way back in the day. If there’s a silver lining here, it’s that the Yankees have plenty of depth in the bullpen. Zack Britton, Adam Ottavino, and Chad Green is a pretty darn good setup trio ahead of closer Aroldis Chapman. I imagine Stephen Tarpley’s chances of making the team just went way up.
The Yankees have held contract extension talks with several players in recent weeks and Betances, an impending free agent, is reportedly among them. My guess is those talks will be put on hold now. The Yankees presumably want to see Betances healthy and throwing like himself before committing multiple years and eight-figures to a soon-to-be 31-year-old reliever.
With this news, the Yankees will now have four members of their projected Opening Day roster start the season on the injured list: Betances (shoulder), Severino (shoulder), CC Sabathia (knee), and Aaron Hicks (back). Good grief. Sabathia and Hicks are expected back relatively soon. Severino is looking at an early-May return and who knows with Betances right now.