TAMPA, Fla. -- Dellin Betances said that his representative has participated in conversations about a potential contract extension, but after witnessing the birth of his first child, the right-handed reliever said that his energy is focused on helping the Yankees win a World Series title.
Betances arrived in camp on Monday, five days after his wife, Janisa, gave birth to a boy, whom they named Dellin Jr. A potential free agent after this season, Betances said that his agent, Jim Murray, has spoken with general manager Brian Cashman about keeping Betances in pinstripes.
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"My priority is with my baby boy and helping this team win," Betances said. "Obviously, I've loved playing here in New York. The Steinbrenner family always puts a great team together. This team is amazing, and I would love to play here in New York. Whenever there's a decision to make, my agent will come to me with that."
Betances turns 31 in March and posted a 2.70 ERA in 66 relief appearances last season, striking out 115 batters in 66 2/3 innings. He said that he had been throwing frequently in the Dominican Republic during the offseason, though he has only tossed twice since the child's birth.
"The last week, things were a little slower, but I'll catch up pretty quickly," Betances said.
Though he had urged the Yankees to sign Manny Machado over the winter (Machado ultimately agreed to a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres on Tuesday, according to sources) and is aware of the ongoing fan interest in Bryce Harper, Betances applauded the moves to bolster the bullpen with Zack Britton and Adam Ottavino, as well as the additions of DJ LeMahieu, James Paxton and Troy Tulowitzki.
"I'm good friends with Manny, so I kept up with him," Betances said. "But I think we made a bunch of great moves. Obviously we got Paxton in a big trade. Not everybody talks about that. He was one of the better pitchers last year. Adding Britton back to the bullpen ... adding Ottavino, tremendous bullpen guy as well. DJ, Tulo. We did a lot.
"The fans might not [feel that way], because obviously Machado and Harper are big names, but we added a lot of big names and a lot of great players. So I think our team is a lot better. This team is dangerous."
Betances recorded four saves in seven opportunities last season, and said that he is comfortable in his current role of setting up for closer Aroldis Chapman alongside Britton, Ottavino, Chad Green and Jonathan Holder.
"Nowadays I feel like middle relievers are getting a lot of love, too, so we'll try to do the best we can and hand the ball to the powerful guy we have in Chapman. We have a great bullpen to do that. I'm focused on winning a championship, and I think we're on track for that, so I would love to be here and win multiples. We'll see what happens."
When the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders absorbed a loss to the Durham Bulls in last September's Governors' Cup finals, Phillip Diehl thought that his season was over. Instead, the 24-year-old left-hander was dispatched to the mound at Yankee Stadium, facing Aaron Judge in a simulated game.
"That was awesome," Diehl said. "We lost, didn't go to the championship and Justus Sheffield gets called up to the big leagues right after the game. Then [senior director of player development] Kevin Reese comes over to me and says, 'You're going to the mini Show.'"
Diehl's unexpected trip came as Judge was rehabbing his fractured right wrist, preparing for a Sept. 18 return to the lineup. A 27th-round pick by the Yankees in the 2016 MLB Draft, Diehl said that he scanned the decks of empty seats while warming in the right-field bullpen and felt some nerves.
"I was expecting them to be like, 'Look, he has a wrist injury. Nothing up and in, just paint away,'" Diehl said. "But Judge himself was like, 'I need you to come at me. I need you to come up and inside. Be careful, don't hit me, but I need to be challenged because I need to face the Red Sox tomorrow.'"
Diehl said that Judge showed some signs of rust early, but before long, the slugger looked like himself again.
"About 10 pitches in, he started to lock in and take good swings," Diehl said. "The last one, he hit out and it was a rocket to the right-field bullpen. He was like, 'All right, I'm good.'"
Yankees position players are scheduled for their first on-field workout on Tuesday, but Miguel Andújar spent about 45 minutes on a back diamond of the complex on Monday, taking sharp grounders at third base. Manager Aaron Boone said that Andujar, who posted a -25 DRS (defensive runs saved) in 2018, is working on a handful of subtle defensive adjustments.
"I want to see him using his athleticism over there," Boone said. "Infield is so much about feet and using your legs to create hops. We talk about a guy's hands all the time, but the great fielders have great feet and are able to stay athletic, create hops for themselves, and you do that on your feet. I feel like he's in a much better place even now from where he was a year ago."
Tulowitzki also saw action on a practice diamond, and Boone is enthused about the shortstop's health.
"The way that he looks out there, he looks like Troy Tulowitzki," Boone said. "Down here, it gets a little competitive out there, and you challenge each other and there's an energy to it. He brings that kind of energy that I think guys feed off of a little bit. To see him moving around, it's exciting to see where he's at right now."
• Danny Farquhar, J.A. Happ, Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka all threw live batting practice on Monday morning at the Minor League complex, as did Albert Abreu, Chad Green, Tommy Kahnle and Brady Lail. Bullpen sessions included Diehl, Jonathan Loaisiga and Ottavino.
• The Yankees announced on Tuesday that George M. Steinbrenner Field has become a smoke- and tobacco-free stadium. This policy will be in place for all stadium events, including all Yankees Spring Training workouts and games, and all Tampa Tarpons games.