TAMPA, Fla. — There was no repeat of the verbal fireworks from Dellin Betances.
But there was no retreat, either.
“I don’t regret anything I said [Saturday],” Betances said Sunday after the Yankees’ first full-squad workout of spring training. “I had to get it off my chest and I did.”
Additionally, even as he made it clear that he’s ready to move on, the reliever said he wasn’t significantly less angry.
“I’m not just going to get over it as easy,” Betances said. “I’m not going to sit here and say that today is a different day for me. But I was just glad I was able to come out here and get some work done. That kind of takes some of the stress off your mind and puts you at ease.”
Betances lost his arbitration case against the Yankees on Saturday — the hearing was held the previous day in St. Petersburg — and found out that his 2017 salary will be the $3 million the team filed for as opposed to the $5 million he requested.
Late Saturday morning, team president Randy Levine held a surprise conference call with reporters in which he used words such as “ridiculous,” “half-baked” and “fantasy” to characterize the $5-million request. He even called Betances a “victim” of his agents’ desire to reestablish the arbitration marketplace for reliever compensation.
The word “victim” set off Betances, who fired back on Saturday, as did his agent.
“I was planning on putting everything behind me,’’ Betances said, “and even though I disagree with the arbitrator’s decision, I was planning on putting everything behind me until I was aware of Randy Levine’s comments saying I was a victim in this whole process.”
Though he said he remains angry, Betances on Sunday expressed his desire to focus on his job.
“In my opinion, I just have to get ready,” he said. “I don’t feel like I need to speak to him [Levine]. I don’t know how they feel on their part, but I’m just going to try and get ready, prepare for the season and try to help my teammates, as much as I can, to win ballgames.”
Betances, who posted a 1.93 ERA during the past three seasons and appeared in more games (217) and threw more innings (247) than any other reliever, hinted Saturday that he might reconsider accepting that kind of workload this year, given the Yankees’ portrayal of him in the hearing as just an “eighth-inning guy.”
He did not back away from that Sunday, though it’s unclear how that would manifest itself.
“Yeah, I don’t regret anything I said [about that],” Betances said. “Obviously, we’ll see what happens. Like I said about the arbitration [hearing], I don’t want to talk about that, but you have to be smarter about things.”
MLBPA executive director Tony Clark, speaking to reporters in Arizona on Sunday, characterized the Yankees’ reaction as “unprofessional” and said it “should not have happened in the fashion that it did.”
Betances said he’s in “a good mindset” despite the controversy, in large part because of the support he’s received from the union, family, fans and friends in the game.
He has committed to play for the Dominican Republic in next month’s World Baseball Classic. He’s scheduled to depart camp March 5, and if the Dominican team does well — a distinct possibility, given that it won the title in 2013 — Betances might not return until about 1½ weeks remain in camp (the championship game is March 22). He does not anticipate that being a problem.
“You speed the clock a little bit, but that’s why I went to the Dominican for a little longer this year, just to train and face some hitters down there,” said Betances, who has trained at Fausto Mejia’s baseball academy in past Januarys. “But I feel like if anything, I’ll be ready [for the regular season] earlier.”