TAMPA, Fla. — Reporting to camp late finally might have caught up with Dellin Betances.
For an afternoon, anyway.
Working for the third time since his debut on Tuesday, Betances didn’t have much Sunday, retiring only one batter and departing with the bases loaded in the seventh inning.
“I felt like crap today. I didn’t really have energy out there,” said Betances, who was charged with two runs and allowed two hits and two walks with a strikeout. “Just one of those days.”
On Tuesday, the 6-8 righthander raised some eyebrows when his fastball sat in the range of 88-91 mph. That ticked up to 93 a couple of times Friday and he hit 93 a few times Sunday.
“I thought maybe today he tried to manufacture it a little bit,” Aaron Boone said of Betances’ velocity. “So he lost a bit of his command and labored a bit.”
“I probably was,” he said. “My third time [this week], obviously I got a late start so we’re trying to catch up. Velo was a little better today and maybe I was trying to get a little more. But as long as that increases every time, that’s a step in the right direction.”
Betances said he “felt good” in the bullpen.
“If I took that into the game, I would have probably had a 1-2-3 [inning],” he said. “As I kept pitching, I was just like, ‘I don’t have anything.’ ”
Betances reported to camp almost a week after his fellow pitchers because of the birth of his first child.
He has pointed out — correctly — that discussion about a dip in velocity has been an almost annual spring training topic since he’s been with the club, something that once the season starts quickly dissipates as he again throws in the high 90s.
“When the arm speed comes, the breaking ball will be better and I think everything in general will be better. It’s just a matter of building,” Betances said. “Every outing has gone better [with velocity], which is usually the case. I’m not really worried. I just have to continue to build arm strength. I’ll be ready to go. Once the lights come on and we have about 50,000 in the stands, I’ll be ready to go.”
An honor, but . . .
Boone officially announced Masahiro Tanaka as his Opening Day starter Saturday, a prized assignment but one the righthander said feels different from the previous three he had for the Yankees from 2015-17.
“Just because [Luis Severino] got hurt this time and because of that, I got tapped in,” Tanaka said through his translator. “However, it’s a special day. To be able to pitch that first game is an honor.”
J.A. Happ allowed three runs and five hits but struck out six in four innings in his third start. “I was encouraged, feeling a little more life,” he said of his arm. "I feel it made my pitches a little more sharp.” . . . CC Sabathia is slated to throw live batting practice on Tuesday.