A few items on the Bronx Bombers…
- Flamethrowing Yankees reliever Dellin Betances’ fastball has clocked in from the high 80s to the low 90s this week, a far cry from the 98 mph mean he posted in 2018. However, a slow start to the spring is neither a first nor a concern for Betances, whose fastball has helped him deliver elite production across five major league seasons. “I won’t be all the way until May,’’ Betances said of his velo (via George A. King III of the New York Post). “I have done this already. It’s always been a topic. Whenever Dellin Betances is throwing 88 to 90 everybody freaks out and panics.’’ While the soon-to-be 31-year-old Betances isn’t worried about his early 2019 velocity drop, it’s worth monitoring given that he’s in his last season of team control. Betances will be in line for a lucrative contract in free agency next winter if his heater returns to normal and he enjoys another strong season, though the Yankees could extend the right-hander before then.
- Center fielder Aaron Hicks – shelved since March 1 with discomfort in his back – has been receiving treatment and will see a doctor Monday, according to manager Aaron Boone (via James Wagner of the New York Times). Boone noted Hicks isn’t experiencing a ton of discomfort, but the Yankees want to take a cautious approach with the 29-year-old, Wagner relays. New York just signed Hicks to a seven-year, $70MM extension on Feb. 25.
- Meanwhile, fellow outfielder Clint Frazier seems ticketed for Triple-A to start the season, Boone suggested this week (per King). “He needs to play every day,’’ Boone said of Frazier, who wouldn’t get everyday playing time in New York with the established quartet of Hicks, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Brett Gardner blocking him. Boone added the Yankees do expect the 24-year-old Frazier to make a big league impact in 2019, which he wasn’t able to do last season during a concussion-limited campaign. Frazier totaled just 41 plate appearances with the Yankees last season, when he slashed an outstanding .311/.389/.574 in 216 PAs at the minors’ highest level.