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Yankees’ Joe Girardi on pulling Dellin Betances early: ‘This is about winning games’

Yankees’ reliever Dellin Betances wasn’t too pleased with manager Joe Girardi’s decision to yank him with two outs in the eighth inning of Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Rays at Citi Field. And on Thursday afternoon, the 29-year-old’s stance was the same. 

“It definitely bothered me,” Betances told the New York Daily News. “I think as a competitor, you don’t want to be taken out of that situation, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m not the manager. He thought that was the best decision.

“I like my chances against anybody. I don’t know if there’s an explanation I’m going to take. Today’s a new day. I’ll be ready whenever my name is called upon.”

Betances has had a rather Jekyll and Hyde season on the mound. In 60 games (55.1 IP), he owns a 3-6 record and 3.09 ERA with 97 strikeouts and 41 walks. At certain times, he’s shown flashes of dominance and command, but Betances can’t seem to avoid erracticism, which has been a year-long issue.

Betances’ frequent lack of control has generally made Girardi’s decision to pull him justifable. But the Yankees’ skipper wants to assure his pitchers that game moves aren’t personal — he only wants to put the team in its best position to win. 

“I’ll talk to [Betances], and when I do it will be very private,” Girardi told the NYDN. “It’s a tough decision and I have to do what my gut tells me. That’s what I’m paid to do. I really do believe in Dellin. He’s been my eighth-inning guy. But at the time I felt when you looked at the matchup in a sense — two homers [vs. lefties] against 27 homers [vs. righties] — it’s a tough decision, there’s no doubt about it. But this is about winning games. It’s not April, May, June, July. I’m going to have to make some other tough decisions as time goes on.”

Starter Jaime Garcia was also upset with being pulled after just 4.2 innings on the bump Wednesday. 

“That doesn’t bother me,” Girardi said. “That’s the competitive nature [of players]. I think I’d be more upset if they weren’t bothered by coming out of games [as pitchers]. Because that would mean they want to come out, and that would really bother me.”

The Yankees (79-66) open up a four-game set against the Baltimore Orioles (72-74) on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.

If you want to connect with Tom Hanslin, email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @tomhanslin.

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