TAMPA, Fla. — Dellin Betances was excused from Yankees camp this week because of his arbitration hearing, which took place Friday in St. Petersburg, Florida.
What kind of mood the righthander will be in when he arrives in camp Saturday is anyone’s guess.
A decision is expected at some point Saturday, so Betances could know whether he was victorious when he shows up. Betances, who made $507,500 last season, filed for $5 million and the Yankees countered at $3 million in January.
“The numbers were just too far apart,” managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said earlier in the week.
The club’s decision to go to war with a homegrown star — Betances was taken in the eighth round of the 2006 draft — had some inside and outside the clubhouse shaking their heads. “Strange message to the younger guys [in the clubhouse],” one insider said. “[This is] a guy you drafted, who’s done everything asked of him and done it well, and you’re going to tear him down [in an arbitration hearing]?”
Betances has been an All-Star three straight years after shifting to the bullpen. He’s led the majors with 217 relief appearances the last three years, posting a 1.93 ERA and recording 392 strikeouts in 247 innings.
Among the things likely to have been brought up by the Yankees in the hearing: Betances’ difficulty holding runners on base and his struggles at times fielding his position, especially throwing to bases.
“The process is what the process is,” Steinbrenner said. “It’s nothing personal. We love Dellin, he knows that. He’s great for the organization, he came up through the ranks. It’s just a procedural thing.”
A good-sized audience — including manager Joe Girardi, pitching coach Larry Rothschild, vice president of baseball operations Tim Naehring and special assignment scout Jim Hendry — watched Adam Warren and Luis Severino, two of the pitchers expected to compete for the fourth and fifth rotation spots, throw live BP. Among the hitters faced: Gary Sanchez and top position prospect Gleyber Torres . . . Saturday is report day for position players, but centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is excused for at least a couple of days, Girardi said, because of the birth of a child.