BOSTON - Dellin Betances showed he could handle the pressure that came as David Robertson's setup man.
Could he make the transition that Robertson successfully did this season?
He may get the chance as Robertson, 39-for-44 in saves this season, will be a free agent and the Yankees very well could choose to spend the money it will take to keep him on another one of the big roster holes they must fill.
"I think he has the qualities to do it, yes," Girardi said of Betances, who went 5-0 with a 1.40 ERA, throwing 90 innings in a team-high 70 games. "But there's a mind-set when there's no one behind you how you handle it. That's what you have to figure out, who can do it and who can't. Obviously David Robertson had to answer those questions and he answered them really well. But until you become that guy people are going to wonder."
If the Yankees choose to roll the dice with Betances, a move that would be received well by fans who quickly adopted the New York native as a favorite, they would be turning over the closer position to a player with just one big-league season in tow.
"I can put it this way," Girardi said. "John Wetteland left and [Mariano Rivera] had one year under his belt."
Betances, whom Girardi shut down before this series because of the number of innings the righthander threw, is not guaranteed the job, however. But obviously he would have the inside track.
"I think you'd go into camp if David left and you'd say we're going to find out, but obviously [Betances'] track record as a late-inning guy is pretty good. He would get every shot."
Follow the leader
Before the game, Girardi was asked about the possibility of Alex Rodriguez, with Jeter retired, filling some of the expected leadership void.
"I don't necessarily think that he would say that [he] would want to be that, but Alex at heart is a teacher," Girardi said. "He likes to teach the game and where you're supposed to be and how to play a position. He likes to talk about hitting. Alex loves to talk about the game but I don't necessarily think that he would seek that."
Eric Jagielo, a lefthanded hitting third baseman taken by the Yankees 26th overall out of Notre Dame in the 2013 draft, got hit in the face with an 87 mph fastball Saturday during an instructional league game in Tampa and was taken to a local hospital. No further details were available at press time.