Yankees' Zack Britton Says He Told Aaron Boone to Remove Him as Team's Closer

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIAugust 15, 2021

New York Yankees relief pitcher Zack Britton delivers to a Kansas City Royals batter during the ninth inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
AP Photo/Colin E. Braley

New York Yankees left-handed relief pitcher Zack Britton told reporters Saturday that he asked manager Aaron Boone to remove him from the closer role.

"I told him I don't deserve to be out there in the ninth inning; other guys deserve it," Britton said, per ESPN's Marly Rivera.

"I haven't been pitching the way I should be to be out there when the team needs wins. I told [Boone] I want to pitch, whenever you need me I'll be ready, but I don't deserve to be out there in those situations."

As Rivera noted, Britton is 1-of-4 on save opportunities with an 8.10 ERA in those situations. He has a 6.32 ERA in 18 appearances overall alongside a 1.66 WHIP.

"Physically [I am] not where I normally am at this stage of the season. But I have to find a way to get outs with where I'm at physically right now because it's just where I'm at," Britton said, per Rivera.

"Just need to figure out how in the future I can get back to the top level of pitching that I want to be at."

The southpaw notably blew a save chance against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday, allowing a game-winning two-run home run to shortstop Tim Anderson in a 9-8 defeat.

During the offseason, Britton underwent left elbow surgery and contracted COVID-19, which led to a big weight loss, per Rivera. Still, the left-hander isn't using that as an excuse.

"I have to figure out a way to pitch with where I'm at. You've got to get outs, regardless of how you're feeling, velocity being down. I've been around long enough to know that it's not always about the best stuff, the most velocity, to get outs. It's about executing pitches. And I'm not doing a good job of that right now. And I'm capable of doing it."

Britton has been inserted into save situations after regular closer Aroldis Chapman went on the 10-day injured list with left elbow inflammation retroactive to Aug. 6.

As for who will close games, Boone said that he will look toward Jonathan Loaisiga and Chad Green until Chapman can return to the team.