NEW YORK — New York Yankees reliever Dellin Betances deserves much better than this. But unfortunately, his 2019 season will consist of only eight pitches.
Betances suffered a season-ending partial tear of his left Achilles tendon while making his 2019 debut on Sunday in Toronto, the Yankees announced following Tuesday’s 8-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels at Yankee Stadium.
Surgery is not being recommended at this point, but cannot be ruled out, according to the team. Betances saw Dr. Justin Greisberg at New York Presbyterian Hospital, and will get a second opinion from Dr. Martin O’Malley at the Hospital for Special Surgery at a later date to be determined.
The 31-year-old veteran, who had sidelined due to a right shoulder impingement and a lat strain, suffered the injury while jumping off the mound when he mistakenly thought he’d recorded the third out of the inning. Betances ended up striking out the only two batters he faced before departing as planned.
“Obviously heartbroken for Dellin,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Boone said Betances came down a little awkwardly on his jump, but didn’t think anything of it at the time. He told the team of his discomfort on Tuesday, and tests revealed the partial tear.
“It made me nauseous when I was thinking about it,” Yankees reliever Zack Britton said.
Britton suffered a ruptured Achilles and December 2017 and required six months of rehab before making his 2018 season debut on June 12.
Betances is set to be a free agent at season’s end, and will likely need to take a short-term, prove-it contract as a result of all his unfortunate injuries. From 2014-18, he compiled a 2.22 ERA and struck out 607 in 373.1 innings, making four All-Star teams over that five-year span. Betances — who is making $7.1 million in 2019 — has earned $16.7 million over his career.
The Yankees (99-53) have been able to thrive in Betances’ absence all season, though, their success is in large part due to a deep, power bullpen that features Aroldis Chapman, Britton, Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kahnle and Chad Green.
The Yankees came into Tuesday with a record-setting 30 players hitting the injured list in 38 different stints (now, make it 39). Starter Luis Severino (shoulder, lat) did make his season debut on Tuesday, throwing four scoreless innings. Outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who has played in just nine games due to myriad injuries, is set to be activated either Wednesday or Thursday.
Yankees are hopeful they can get catcher Gary Sanchez (groin) and first baseman/designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (oblique) back before the playoffs.
Still, it’s an awful blow for Betances, who has been a class act and beloved teammate while wearing pinstripes.
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