The Yankees, who spent the first week of the season getting everybody hurt, and then a few months later, did it again just to set some all-time IL records, are getting healthy. Just in time for the playoffs, but also just in time to get injured again.
Dellin Betances, longtime setup ace, four-time all-star, the most durable and one of the most dominant relievers in baseball over the last five years, had missed the entire season with a nagging shoulder injury. On Sunday in Toronto, after a lengthy and exhausting rehab, he made his 2019 debut. He pitched to two batters, his velocity was good, and he struck out both. When he fanned Brandon Drury for the second, he did a little jig to celebrate being back, being healthy, and being himself...
...that little jig tore his Achilles tendon. He’s done for the year.
Betances showed up to the stadium on Tuesday feeling a little sore, and went for an MRI that revealed the tear. He might be able to recover without surgery, but it still won’t be this season:
“Obviously, I’m heartbroken for Dellin and knowing he worked so hard to get to this point to be a factor for us and have him successfully debut for us,” manager Aaron Boone said. “And now this.”
It’s extra-awful for Betances, because this winter, entering his age-32 season and nine years after making his MLB debut, he’s going to be a free agent for the first time. I don’t know if or how badly this lost season is going to hurt him on the market, but it’s certainly not going to help him.
And the Yankees? Cursed, obviously. (But also blessed with an enormous payroll and a stacked farm system that’s allowed them to win 99 games and be tied for MLB’s best record despite losing almost every player for lengthy stretches, including their starting third baseman and centerfielder for the entire year. For example: Even without Betances, their bullpen consists of Tommy Kahnle, Zack Britton, Adam Ottavino, and Aroldis Chapman. Pretty, pretty good.)
Luis Severino, New York’s No. 1 starter, made his 2019 debut Tuesday night; expect him to fall into a wheat thresher today. And slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who’s appeared in just nine games this season, could be back as soon as Wednesday; he’ll be mauled by a pack of rowdy ferrets by the weekend.