New York Yankees relief pitcher Dellin Betances is expected to miss at least six to seven weeks as the result of a cortisone shot used to treat a spur in the back of his shoulder, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
Betances will be shut down from throwing for three weeks.
Betances has yet to appear in a regular-season game this year, opening the season on the injured list with a right shoulder impingement. Sherman noted Betances threw a simulated game that did not go well Friday and subsequently underwent an MRI.
Last season, Betances averaged 97.8 mph on his fastball velocity, per FanGraphs.
When healthy, the four-time All-Star is a dominant strikeout artist who has punched out 40 percent of the batters he's faced in the bigs, per FanGraphs. He's the only reliever in MLB history to have struck out 100 or more batters in five straight years.
The 6'8", 265-pound right-hander has been a fantastic member of the Yankees' bullpen dating back to 2014, when he became a fixture on the relief staff after making cups of coffee in 2011 and 2013. He has shown some on-and-off troubles with his command (16.9 percent walk rate in 2017 and 12.1 percent in 2015), but those issues have since dissipated.
He's also moonlit as the team's closer, making 36 career saves. However, he's largely operated as the back end of the bridge between starter and closer. Lately, he's primarily worked as the team's eighth-inning reliever ahead of closer Aroldis Chapman.
Losing Betances would be a massive loss for most other bullpens, but the Yankees have one of MLB's best relief staffs.
Expect manager Aaron Boone to use a mix of right-handers Adam Ottavino and Chad Green and left-hander Zach Britton to take care of the eighth inning with Betances out. Ottavino has a 1.29 ERA, while Green and Britton sit at 9.00 and 4.76, respectively.
The 5-8 Yankees are currently second in the American League East, 5.5 games back of the Tampa Bay Rays.