Betances has more to fix in Spring Training

Yankees closer candidate allows fifth spring run in seventh appearance

Betances has more to fix in Spring Training

TAMPA, Fla. -- Dellin Betances would hate to get on the plane without another clean inning under his belt, so this is going to be an important week for the Yankees right-hander to iron out the wrinkles.

Betances was touched for a run in the sixth inning of the Yanks' 10-2 Grapefruit League loss to the Orioles on Saturday. In seven appearances, the All-Star has permitted five earned runs and is sporting a 7.11 ERA.

"At the end of the day, you've got to try to prepare yourself," Betances said. "But I guess it's better to happen now in Spring Training where I can fix it before we leave and head up north. I'd rather it happen now than in season, when it's a little tougher there when the games count more."

The Yankees have not named a closer, and manager Joe Girardi has said he does not necessarily have to make a choice between Betances and Andrew Miller, who owns a 2.84 ERA in 6 1/3 spring innings. It remains possible they could serve as flexible co-closers to open the season.

In Saturday's outing, Betances fell behind the leadoff hitter, Steve Clevenger, who singled to right field. Ryan Flaherty followed by working a walk and Betances got Jonathan Schoop to bounce into a fielder's choice, but Alejandro De Aza lifted a sacrifice fly that brought home the Orioles' seventh run of the day.

Betances said he has been working with pitching coach Larry Rothschild on shortening his leg kick and not flying open. He will get another chance to figure things out Sunday, when Betances has been scheduled to pitch in a Minor League game.

"It's not like I'm missing as bad as I once was," Betances said. "I'm around the zone. I felt way better even before I came in. I felt like my direction was better, something I'll try to work on more. As that gets better, I think I'll be able to throw more strikes and put guys away."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.