Yanks slugger, in midst of rebound, joined by teammates Miller, Betances
By Barry M. Bloom
SAN DIEGO -- A little more than a week ago, Carlos Beltran sat in front of his locker as the Yankees played the Padres at Petco Park and said he was more worried about recovering from a right hamstring strain than he was about playing in tonight's All-Star Game presented by MasterCard (7:30 p.m. ET on FOX).
Beltran recovered, and now he is here along with teammates Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances, the relievers who make up two-thirds of what has become the most deadly bullpen trio in baseball: Done BMC.
"I'm great, man. I feel happy. I feel blessed," said Beltran, an All-Star for the ninth time. "I'm 39 years old. Most of the guys here, other than Bartolo and David -- I'm the third oldest player in the All-Star Game. Just being able to be here is gratifying and, for me, it's motivational."
Beltran rebounded from injuries and an off year in 2015 to bat .299 with 19 homers and 56 RBIs in his first 83 games, playing right field and designated hitter.
The Yankees are 44-44 at the break largely because of Beltran's offensive contributions, and manager Joe Girardi has said more than once: "I don't know where we'd be without him."
Equally, the Yankees would be nowhere without their trio of bullpen aces in Betances, Miller and Aroldis Chapman. Spearheaded by these guys, the Yanks' bullpen is on a torrid pace of striking out 11.3 batters per nine innings, which, if the season ended today, would be far and away the record.
The Yankees are also 16-1 when the three pitch in the same game. Miller and Chapman have combined to save 23 games, Chapman logging 17 of them since he returned on May 1 from a 30-day suspension for violating MLB's domestic violence policy.
This is the first All-Star appearance for the 31-year-old Miller, who was named the Mariano Rivera Award winner last season when he saved 36 games.
"I'm overwhelmed," said Miller, who went back to filling the eighth-inning role upon Chapman's return. "I'm a little bit out of my element. It's a neat experience. It's a lot of fun. These are some pretty big names around here. This is not the type of event I get to attend on a regular basis. So I'm just trying to take it all in and enjoy it."
Betances, at 28, is an AL All-Star for the third consecutive season, which reveals what a dominant reliever he has been in both closing and setup roles. In his little more than four-year big league career, he's struck out an amazing 356 batters in 225 2/3 innings, 78 in 44 innings thus far this season.
Despite all of that, Betances is now working the seventh inning ahead of Miller and Chapman, and he's loving it.
"It's been an honor for me to watch Miller and Chapman pitch behind me," Betances said. "These guys work very hard. Their drive toward the game is phenomenal, and I'm excited, obviously, to be here with Drew."