Brian McCann hopes for plenty of more celebrations, whether it is with Andrew Miller (l.), Dellin Betances or the Yankees’ newest addition, Aroldis Chapman.
Brian McCann faced Aroldis Chapman five times during his time in the National League. He seems much more excited about the chance to catch the Yankees’ new closer than he ever did stepping into the box against him.
“You don’t see it,” McCann said of Chapman’s 103-mph fastball. “You have to swing right when the ball is about to be released, and your chances then are slim. He’s dominant. He’s one of those guys that when he comes into the game, the other team feels it’s over. And we have three of those guys. We’re excited.”
Chapman joins last year’s dynamic duo of Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances, forming the fiercest relief trio in the league. For McCann, the possibilities of a bullpen featuring those three big arms are endless as the Yankees prepare to report to spring training next week.
“Depending on how you want to use those guys, you can throw them two innings and give them a day off or you can go 7-8-9,” McCann said. “You can arguably say they’re the three best bullpen arms in the game and we have them on our team. We’re extremely excited about that.”
McCann and Miller were among five honorees at the 36th annual Thurman Munson Awards Tuesday night at the Grand Hyatt, an event that has raised more than $ 14 million for the AHRC New York City Foundation to benefit children and adults with disabilities.
Miller excelled in his first year as a closer, converting 36 of 38 save opportunities while posting a 2.04 ERA in 60 appearances. He earned the Mariano Rivera Award as the American League’s top reliever, but that wasn’t enough to hold on to the closer job after the Yankees acquired Chapman in a trade with the Reds on Dec. 28.
“Chapman is a special arm,” Miller said. “If he helps us win games, that’s definitely the goal and it’s a good thing.”
Miller may close some games early in the season if Chapman is suspended for his domestic violence incident, though it remains to be seen how commissioner Rob Manfred handles that situation.
Miller has maintained since the day he signed with the Yankees that he is happy pitching wherever Joe Girardi needs him. After a stellar season as a closer, he insisted that hasn’t changed.
“I think certainly knowing you have the ninth inning with a lead, or close a game, that kind of stuff, it allows you to kind of lock in and kind of get
into a routine that’s more set in stone,” Miller said.
“But it wasn’t that long ago that I was kind of all over the place and pitching in a new role. I’ll find a way to get back to that.”
The Yankees were the only team not to sign a free-agent to a major-league deal this offseason, but Miller isn’t looking for anybody to feel sorry for him and his teammates.
“It’s a little different, but I think there are still guys out there,” Miller said. “But our payroll is pretty big, so it’s hard for us to cry poor in a situation like this.”
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.