Betances, Miller to share closer role to begin season
Yankees manager Girardi confident both can do job; pitchers supportive of plan
NEW YORK -- The Yankees will have Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller sharing the ninth-inning duties to begin the 2015 season, and manager Joe Girardi said that both pitchers are on board with the arrangement.
Girardi has declined to name a successor to David Robertson, believing that the right-handed Betances and the left-handed Miller both have the ability to get left-handed and right-handed batters out in the late innings, and they can be used interchangeably depending on situations.
"They're well aware of what we're doing, I've explained it to them, they're fine with it," Girardi said before the Yankees hosted the Blue Jays on Monday for Opening Day. "We're going to go with it, and we'll see how it works."
Neither Betances nor Miller has any considerable closing experience; they have one career save apiece, and so they repeatedly said this spring that they would have no issue if Girardi and the Yanks want to use a co-closer situation to begin the year.
Miller enjoyed a solid first spring with the Yankees after signing a four-year, $36 million deal, posting a 2.25 ERA over nine appearances spanning eight innings. Betances struggled with his control at times and ended the spring with a 5.40 ERA in nine appearances, spanning 8 1/3 innings.
"I think it's different, in a sense that you have two options and depending on where they are in their lineup, you're going to choose one or the other," Girardi said. "I think you manage that way from the fifth, sixth and seventh innings a lot of times. A lot of teams have eighth- and ninth-inning guys and you just go there.
"You manage that way at other times, so from that standpoint, it's not something that I've never done. I've said all along, I think the communication is really important. They know who their guys are in the lineup and who we expect them to get out if we're in this part of the lineup, this is who you've got."