TAMPA, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Yankees fans and the team’s medical staff were left saying “here we go again” on Tuesday.
Reliever Dellin Betances has been diagnosed with inflammation in his right shoulder and will start the regular season on the injured list.
New York general manager Brian Cashman said an MRI was done on Betances on Tuesday after the 6-8, 265-pound right-hander continued to lack velocity in his fastball.
“He’s had a history in the past of slow starting, but this was a little bit more longer and more significant than we recalled,” Cashman said.
Betances, who normally reaches the upper 90s, has topped out between 92 and 93 mph this spring.
He curtailed his offseason throwing program awaiting the birth of his child and was given permission to report a few days late for spring training.
“I feel like I was trying to rush it,” Betances said. “I just felt like I was behind the whole time. I’m not too concerned because I think it was just more for caution.”
Betances said he will not throw for three to five days.
“We need to give him a timeout, hit him with an anti-inflammatory so we can restart that clock,” Cashman said.
Betances went 4-6 with a 2.70 ERA in 66 games last season.
“Not the end of the world to have him miss a little bit of time and save some innings over the course of a long season,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “We’re obviously going to need him and count on him in a big way.”
Left-hander Stephen Tarpley is among those that could take Betances’ spot on the roster.
At least six Yankees will be on the injured list when New York opens the regular season against the Baltimore Orioles on March 28.
The team’s growing M*A*S*H unit includes Betances, starting pitchers CC Sabathia and Luis Severino, outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Aaron Hicks, and shortstop Didi Gregorius.
Exploring options to help fill the void with Severino and Sabathia sidelined, Yankees reliever Chad Green served an opener and allowed a run in the first inning before rotation candidate Luis Cessa went four scoreless innings in a 6-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Severino, out with right shoulder inflammation, will not be available until May at the earliest. Sabathia is likely to miss the first week or two as he recovers from an offseason that included knee surgery and the insertion of a stent after a blockage was found in an artery from his heart.
Severino is set to resume playing catch Wednesday, while Sabathia is scheduled for his first minor league game Thursday.
The Yankees agreed Monday to a minor league contract with 33-year-old left-hander Gio Gonzalez, who arrived in camp Tuesday and passed his physical. He could pitch in a game as soon as Saturday.
For Betances, who turns 31 on Saturday, this isn’t the start he was hoping for. The Yankees’ dominant setup man is due to be a free agent after the 2019 season.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)