On Tuesday afternoon, Yankees president Randy Levine backtracked on his comments from February regarding Betances’ ability to be a closer. In February, Levine believed Betances wasn’t worthy of $5 Million in arbitration because he wasn’t a closer, and if ‘Betances was a closer, then Levine was an astronaut’. But on Tuesday, Levine claimed to have full faith in Betances who will replace Chapman in the ninth inning.
“He is going to do great,” Levine said. “He is ready. I have full confidence he will do a great job.”
However, Betances wasn’t in quite the forgiving mood when he heard Levine’s latest comments. Betances knows he has a job to do, and he wasn’t going to let Levine’s words cause a distraction.
“I am not worried about Randy Levine and what he is trying to say,’’ Betances said. “Obviously there was the thing a couple of months ago, but I am focused on the team and trying to help the team win.’’
Betances doesn’t believe there’s a difference pitching in the eighth or the ninth, except the team either comes away with the win or enters the clubhouse in a funk.
“The only difference is you either shake hands or go home upset. There is nothing different because you have to make pitches. You have to be the aggressor and try to get some outs,’’ Betances said. “The only difference is if you put it in your mind that you have to do something different, you are going to get yourself in trouble.’’
Betances’ services weren’t needed on Tuesday night, especially since the Yankees defeated the Kansas City Royals 7-1. But in the Yankees next 11 games–two against the Royals, three against the Tampa Bay Rays, three against the Royals at home, and three against the Oakland Athletics at home–the Yankees will end up needing Betances to help preserve a lead.
And that will be the perfect moment for Betances to prove himself as the closer.