3/23/2014 5:59 P.M. ET
Bullpen hopeful Betances comes up big in seventh
By Phil Rogers / MLB.com
TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees pitcher Dellin Betances said he didn't notice Jose Bautista slinging his bat after a bases-loaded strikeout. "I'm just trying to get the next guy out,'' he said.
That next guy was Edwin Encarnacion, and Betances set him down, too. He flied out to left fielder Brett Gardner to leave the bases loaded in the seventh inning of the Yankees' 3-1 loss to the Blue Jays on Sunday.
Score a major step forward in Betances' campaign for a spot in the Yankees' bullpen.
Once a highly touted prospect as a starter, Betances reinvented himself after a move to the bullpen last year. He has had a strong Spring Training, allowing only four hits in 10 1/3 innings over eight outings.
Even if Betances didn't notice Bautista slinging his bat after home-plate umpire Mark Wegner called him out on strikes, manager Joe Girardi certainly did.
"Sure I [noticed]," Girardi said. "He has really good stuff. Those guys [Bautista and Encarnacion] aren't going to give at-bats away. When Bautista slings his bat, you know he's not giving anything away.''
While Betances hasn't earned his spot in a seven-man bullpen, he isn't likely to be sent out of camp in the next few days, when the next cuts are expected to be made. Girardi said the bullpen picture should "get much clearer on Tuesday,'' but he's not expected to set his Opening Day roster until next weekend.
"Every time I go out there this spring, it means something,'' Betances said. "I'm fighting for a spot every time out. I'm trying to make the best impression. I feel good, but it's not up to me. There's stuff I can improve on. The whole pitching staff has pitched great.''
Girardi gives Ellsbury additional time to heal
TAMPA, Fla. -- While Jacoby Ellsbury went through a full workout, he wasn't penciled in the lineup for Sunday's game against the Blue Jays.
"I felt good today," said Ellsbury, who has downplayed concern that the injury could land him on the disabled list.
"Even when it started, I thought I could play that day," he said. "But it's one of those things where we have the luxury of Spring Training and letting it get 100 percent. That's pretty much what it's been. At this point, I'm not feeling anything too much in the calf. I run bases, use my legs. Why not let it get to be 100 percent?''
Yankees manager Joe Girardi wants to give his center fielder two more days to rest the right calf muscle he tweaked last weekend. Ellsbury underwent an MRI on the calf during the week, and no major damage was found.
Barring a setback, Girardi said that Ellsbury is scheduled to play in a Minor League game on Tuesday before hopefully returning to the Yankees' lineup Wednesday. That would provide him with the possibility of playing five games to get ready for the April 1 opener at Houston. He's among the group of Yankees veterans who hasn't hit much this spring, batting .174 with one home run in nine games.
Girardi not worried about Jeter, Teixeira
TAMPA, Fla. -- Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira did nothing against the Blue Jays on Sunday to alleviate concerns about their struggles at the plate during Spring Training. But Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he's not worried, at least not yet.
"Guys have been through Spring Trainings like this before," Girardi said. "I can remember a lot of times [guys] didn't hit in the spring and then came out hot [in the regular season]. No one wants to waste [hits] in Spring Training.''
Jeter grounded into a double play while going 0-for-3 off Mark Buehrle and is hitting .114. He did make a good defensive play, reacting quickly with the infield in to take a hit away from Chris Getz in the fifth inning.
"I'm not really too worried about it," Girardi said. "It is Spring Training. He was off almost a year and a half. He feels better at the plate. He says his timing is getting better.''
Teixeira played all nine innings at first base, going 0-for-4. He chased a low pitch to strike out against lefty Steve Delabar in the ninth inning, which dropped his average to .115. He's homerless in 26 at-bats.
• Girardi said that shortstop Brendan Ryan reported some improvement in his back and oblique, but he is expected to open the season on the disabled list.
• While the Yankees are off on Monday, Ivan Nova will get in some work to stay on track. He is slated to pitch in a Minor League game at the Himes Complex at 1 p.m. ET.
Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.