Yankees president changes tune on Betances closing: 'He's ready'

Charles LeClaire / USA TODAY Sports

The Dellin Betances fan club just found itself a new president.

New York Yankees president Randy Levine made waves in February when he publicly criticized Betances' suitability as a closer after he and the club won an arbitration case against the reliever. Levine told reporters: "I'm not an astronaut and Dellin Betances is not a closer."

Time - or, perhaps, necessity - heals all wounds, apparently. With Aroldis Chapman on the disabled list, manager Joe Girardi has tabbed Betances to take over as closer. Though Betances hasn't had a save opportunity in his new role just yet, he does own a miniscule 0.75 ERA through his first 14 appearances of 2017, which seems to have changed the executive's view on the situation.

"He's going to do great. He's ready," Levine told Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports on Tuesday. "I have full confidence he'll do a great job."

Levine's earlier comments were deemed "unprofessional" by MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark in the aftermath of the incident. The president insists he was solely addressing Betances' resume heading into the now-infamous hearing.

"That was arbitration, based on the past," Levine told Heyman. "But he's ready to do it now."

Betances, a native of New York, has made three All-Star teams working as a setup man; he's recorded just 22 career saves to date, 12 of them in the final two months of last year, after trades of both Chapman and Andrew Miller made him the closer by default.

"I don't have to prove anything (as a closer)," he told Dan Martin of the New York Post on Sunday after being named interim closer. "I've been pitching three years (here) already."

The 29-year-old is being paid $3 million by the Yankees this year after asking for $5 million in arbitration.

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Yankees president changes tune on Betances closing: 'He's ready'
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