It would be impossible to have a more impressive spring than Dellin Betances has had to this point. The 6-8 right-hander, who turned 24 on Friday, has allowed only five hits and no runs in eight Grapefruit League innings for the Yankees. But the native New Yorker who now lives in Teaneck knows his season is going to begin at Triple-A, where he’ll try to prove he deserves another call-up to The Show. And he hopes this time the move is permanent.
1. How long have you lived in New Jersey?
I’ve lived in Jersey for the last four years. I bought my parents a house in 2007, after I was drafted and signed in 2006. My parents love it in Teaneck because it’s quiet, but it’s still close to the city. It’s a 10-minute drive to Washington Heights, where I was born and where we still have a lot of family.
2. When you were called up last September, did you live at home?
Yeah, I lived at home. Not many guys get to sleep in their own bed when they get called up to the big leagues. It was pretty cool.
3. You were born and raised in the Bronx?
I was born in Washington Heights, but went to high school in Brooklyn. I moved from the Bronx to the Lower East Side of Manhattan at the age of 10. But I went to high school in Brooklyn and played summer ball in Brooklyn, so I’m from a little bit of everywhere.
4. When you’re home, where do you like to go? Any favorite places?
There’s a place in Washington Heights called La Casa Del Mofongo that I like a lot. Some good Spanish food. Rice, beans, chicken. When I’m home, I love going there.
5. Were you a Yankees fan growing up?
The Yankees were my team. My godfather took me to a lot of games when I was younger. I loved Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams. You could go down the list of players, they were great guys to watch, winning all those championships.
6. Where did you sit in the Stadium?
Bleacher creature all the way. That was my spot. I wouldn’t trade that spot for anything. I would wear a hat, not a jersey. But I would always try to represent. I didn’t play baseball until I was 10, so from age 6 to 10 I went to a lot of games. Eat a hot dog, watch the game. It was great.
7. What’s it like being 6-8 and looking down at a hitter?
I feel like I have an advantage. Being this tall, it’s not easy as a hitter to see a guy 6-8 standing on top of the mound. That’s probably scary for the hitter. But tall pitchers have more they’ve got to keep together mechanically, so that’s the challenge.
8. What was your first game at the Stadium like, last September against the Tampa Bay Rays?
It was nerve-racking, but a great experience. Coming in from the bullpen to pitch in front of friends and family. It was amazing. I didn’t do as well as I wanted, gave up a couple of runs, but it was still a thrill. Not many people get to pitch in Yankee Stadium.
9. What is it going to take for you to get another call-up?
There’s a lot of competition around here. I need to become more consistent with my mechanics and delivery if I want to take that next step. That’s my focus. I need to learn to take my stuff from the bullpen to the game. I am going to keep working hard.