4/12/2014 1:47 P.M. ET
Staying back on rubber pays off for Betances
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- When Dellin Betances' mechanics are in sync, the right-hander can look electric, as he did in striking out the side during a perfect inning in New York's 4-2 loss to the Red Sox on Friday.
The trick is keeping his 6-foot-8 frame in the right place. Three of Betances' four relief appearances this season have been sharp, and he said that pitching coach Larry Rothschild helped get Betances back on track after his one wild outing on April 4 in Toronto.
"I felt like in Toronto I was rushing everything, so I've been doing dry sides every day with my arm work and mental stuff," Betances said. "I'm just trying to stay more back; same thing with the offspeed, staying more back. I think that helps me get the ball down."
Keeping that mantra in mind, the 26-year-old Betances recorded five outs against the Orioles on Tuesday, striking out three. He enjoyed similar success against the Red Sox on Friday, freezing David Ross and Jackie Bradley Jr. on called third strikes before fanning Jonny Gomes.
"Now I'm just telling myself after every pitch, 'Just try to stay back,'" Betances said. "It's been working for me. I'm going to keep doing work on the side. Larry told me the same thing, I was working side to side. Stay back with your breaking ball, stay back with your fastball and everything will take care of itself. I think that has helped me the last couple of times out."
Looking to keep captain fresh, Girardi sits Jeter
NEW YORK -- It may have been odd to see Derek Jeter's name left out of a Yankees lineup against the Red Sox, especially with the captain healthy and active, but manager Joe Girardi said it was a tough call he had to make before Saturday's matinee at Yankee Stadium.
Dean Anna made the start at shortstop in place of the 39-year-old Jeter, who was given a day off with New York playing an afternoon game after a night game. It was the second day off of the year for Jeter and his first at home.
"There's not a whole lot I can do about that," Girardi said. "When you start running guys out there too much, you risk injury. I'm sure guys would be a little more upset if he was out two weeks or a month, or something like that.
"I understand fans want to see him play, and I get that. I want to see him play. I'd love to run him out there 162 times, but I've got to do what's best for him and our team. We have day games after night games or we walk into hotel rooms at 6 o'clock in the morning, you've got to be smart about it."
Girardi has spoken about being cognizant of the expectations from crowds that want to see Jeter in his final big league season, both at home and on the road, but Girardi said that his priority is to make sure Jeter can play a full and productive year.
"I have to manage him with the focus of winning games and keeping him healthy, not it being a farewell tour," Girardi said. "I wasn't hired to put on a farewell tour. ... It's not the last week of the season and these games are obviously important to us -- today, tomorrow, the next month. I have to manage that. And I'm sorry if people came to see him today, but I have to be smart about it."
Teixeira aiming for April 20 return to roster
NEW YORK -- Mark Teixeira said that he expects to be activated from the 15-day disabled list on April 20 against the Rays in St. Petersburg, the first day that the Yankees' first baseman would be eligible.
Teixeira, 34, said that his workout on Saturday included swinging a bat and running drills at Yankee Stadium, both of which went well. He has not felt discomfort in his right hamstring, which he strained on April 4 in Toronto.
"This is a very minor injury," Teixeira said. "If it was the second half of the season, I'd still be playing. This is a very minor thing, where when it's early, it's cold, the team just doesn't want to push it in April."
Teixeira said that he will travel with the team to Florida and could quickly collect at-bats at the Minor League complex in Tampa, Fla., before being activated.
"I can get the old five at-bats in five innings, six at-bats in six innings, which is great because it's very efficient," Teixeira said. "You can see as many pitches as you want to."
Manager Joe Girardi is looking forward to reinserting Teixeira into the heart of the batting order.
"It obviously gives you a big hitter in the middle again, a switch-hitter, and it allows you to move some people around a little bit more," Girardi said. "We count on him a lot in the middle of the order. A switch-hitter just makes our lineup harder to navigate through."
• Kelly Johnson had played just three big league games at first base before this season, and he made his eighth appearance there on Saturday. Girardi has been pleased with Johnson's proficiency at the position.
"He's done a really, really good job, and that's not an easy position," Girardi said. "I think sometimes people think it's an easy position, but there's a lot of things to know when you start talking about bunt plays and cuts and relays, having him get off the base when you're holding a guy on. He's done a really good job."
• Yankees pitchers had struck out at least 12 batters in each of their last three games entering play on Saturday. That marks just the second time in franchise history they have done so, also doing it from May 17-19, 2002.
• On this date in 1993, Paul O'Neill made his Yankee Stadium debut by going 4-for-4 with a double, triple and two RBIs, leading the Yankees to a 4-1 win over the Royals.