Before Monday night's 10-2 loss to Seattle, Joe Girardi was uncertain whether David Robertson would be available after throwing 27 pitches each of the previous two days. Robertson wasn't needed, but if the game had been close and he had been unavailable, Girardi said he "wouldn't shy away" from using Dellin Betances as the closer.
Betances actually pitched two full innings against the Twins on Sunday, striking out five. Of the 98 outs he has recorded this season, 56 have been strikeouts.
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Asked how the rookie compares with all-time great closer Mariano Rivera, who filled a similar setup role at the same stage of his career, Girardi, who caught Rivera, said: "You can look at the numbers and they're probably fairly comparable. That year, [Rivera] was a guy we would use for multiple innings.
"He was extremely effective, just like Dellin has been. So I can understand the comparisons. Obviously, they're different pitchers. I think you could call both power pitchers, but Dellin has the curveball as well."
Having Betances available for multiple innings, Girardi said, is "an extreme luxury." More often than not, he will remain in that role because he has faith in Robertson as the closer, even after he was charged with five runs in two-thirds of an inning Sunday.
"He's a kid who has matured a lot, has learned how to turn the page over time, and those are the things you want out of relievers," Girardi said. "[Robertson] had a rough day. It happens. He's a guy who's probably going to be under a microscope because of who he's replacing. It's not going to seem fair, but that's the nature of the business because he's replacing the greatest of all time."
Big day for Teixeira
Mark Teixeira was idle Monday after having a cortisone injection on Saturday to deal with pain in his right wrist, but he might be ready to go against Oakland Tuesday night. "The doctors gave us good news," Girardi said. "We'll give him an opportunity to see how he feels. I can't say he will play or he won't play."
Carlos Beltran (right elbow inflammation) went through his first rehab game in Florida with no problems . . . CC Sabathia (right knee inflammation) worked on a treadmill and played catch from a chair . . . Reliever Shawn Kelley (strained lumbar spine) might throw a simulated game Wednesday.