Betances stays sour over 8th-inning removal

Girardi: Decision based on matchup, not change in role

Betances stays sour over 8th-inning removal

NEW YORK -- Dellin Betances wasn't happy Wednesday, and 24 hours of cooling-off time hadn't changed that Thursday afternoon.

The Yankees reliever still didn't understand why manager Joe Girardi chose to pull him in the eighth inning with the game on the line. What's more, Betances said he wasn't all that concerned with hearing from Girardi on why he made the move.

"Whatever he tells me as an explanation, I like my chances against anybody," Betances said. "I don't know if there's an explanation I'm going to take. He felt it was the best decision. At the end of the day, that's what matters."

The Yankees did win Wednesday's game, 3-2 over the Rays, with Aroldis Chapman coming in for Betances and getting the final five outs.

Chapman's 200th career save

Girardi said the move shouldn't be taken as a sign he has lost any confidence in Betances, who has four walks in 4 1/3 innings over his past five appearances with six runs allowed.

"It's a tough decision," Girardi said. "I have to do what my gut tells me. That's what I'm paid to do. I really believe in Dellin. He's been my eighth-inning guy. He's been my closer at times this year. This is about winning games, and it's not April, May, June, July. I'm going to have to make some other tough decisions as we go forward."

Betances didn't speak to reporters in the postgame clubhouse Wednesday afternoon, but a day later he sounded just as upset as he'd been in the heat of the moment.

He began the eighth inning by getting Lucas Duda on a flyout. Evan Longoria followed with a single, but Betances struck out Logan Morrison for the second out. At that point, with Steven Souza Jr. due up, Girardi bounced out of the dugout to make the change.

"I was shocked," Betances said. "I was surprised. I think a lot of people were surprised."

Also upset was starting pitcher Jaime Garcia, who was removed one out shy of qualifying for a win. Girardi said Wednesday the anger shown by Garcia and Betances didn't bother him, and he repeated the same sentiments when told of Betances' comments Thursday.

"That's great, for me," Girardi said, in response to Betances saying there wasn't an explanation he would accept. "That means he really believes in his stuff -- and that's great."

Garcia reluctantly leaves game

Girardi pointed out 27 of Souza's 29 home runs this season have come against right-handed pitchers. As it turned out, Chapman walked Souza and allowed a run-scoring single to Adeiny Hechavarria before striking out Wilson Ramos to get out of the inning with the lead intact.

Betances' focus was more on how he was pitching and how he was feeling. He made the point he had just fanned Morrison and that the next batter (Souza) was right-handed.

"I am a competitor, and I just felt I didn't put myself in harm's way," he said. "A lot of times I do, but right there, I'd just given up one hit, to Longoria."

It bothered him, but Betances said the anger won't stay with him.

"I'm fine today," he said. "Today's a new day. We won the game, and that's the most important thing."

Danny Knobler is a contributor to MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.