"My focus was on making the team," Betances said recently. "I knew that if I believed in myself and I had the confidence going into spring that I was going to get that job. I can't tell you that the numbers would be the way that they are because you're facing great hitters on a daily basis."
Girardi said that he would give closer David Robertson the opportunity to log his 40th save in Sunday's season finale, should the opportunity arise. Girardi also said that he plans to play Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira in what will be the last game of Derek Jeter's career.
Looking ahead to next season, Girardi said that Betances' electric campaign makes him an important piece of the planning process. Robertson will be eligible for free agency, and Girardi said that Betances gives them a solid backup plan for the closer role should Robertson depart.
"I think he has the qualities to do it," Girardi said. "But there's a mindset when there's no one behind you, how you handle it. That's what you have to figure out, who can do it and who can't do it. Obviously David Robertson had to answer those questions and he answered it really well. But until you become that guy, people are going to wonder."
Girardi points out that in 1996, John Wetteland was the World Series MVP and left to sign a free-agent contract with the Rangers, handing the closer role off to Rivera. That switch worked out pretty well for the Yankees.
"Mo had one year under his belt," Girardi said. "I think you'd go into camp, if David left, and you'd say -- we're going to find out. But obviously his track record as a late-inning guy is pretty darned good. He would get every shot."
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.