New York Daily News


Yanks’ Miller & Betances have special bond



SAN DIEGO — Andrew Miller will always remember his first All-Star experience, but not just for his own selection to this year’s American League squad.

Sharing the time with Dellin Betances makes this week even more special for Miller, who has formed a bond with his bullpenmat­e that rivals most others in the majors.

“We hang out for nine innings every day,” Miller said. “The bullpen tends to be a place where faces come and go, but we’ve been out there together for a while. He’s somebody I cherish having played with and I’ll pull for forever.”

That the pair are two of the most dominant relievers in the game is secondary when it comes to their friendship. It’s a relationsh­ip based on respect and mutual admiration, one that had each of them gushing about the other Monday as they prepare for the week’s activities at Petco Park.

“We kind of have a brotherly relationsh­ip on and off the field,” Betances said. “Andrew is a tremendous guy and he has a lot of knowledge in the game. He’s someone you can learn a lot from. When he speaks, you listen.”

Although Miller is lefthanded and Betances is a righty, the two routinely pick each other’s brains about opposing hitters. Miller taps into his trusted notebook, in which he keeps copious notes on every team throughout the season, sharing his findings with Betances while they wait for the call from the dugout.

“I haven’t seen anybody do that since I’ve been here,” Betances said. “He knows what he wants to do every time he’s out there.

“You’re your own pitching coach, but he’s a guy that as a teammate, you can go to and ask, ‘What do you have on this guy?’ instead of going to the actual pitching coach. He’s very knowledgea­ble.”

The most unusual part of the talented tandem? They’re both in San Diego representi­ng the Yankees despite the fact that Aroldis Chapman — the third member of “No Runs DMC” — is the heralded closer.

“It’s hard for a middle relief/ setup guy to be here; it doesn’t happen very often,” Betances said. “I think it’s just the way the game is evolving. A lot of teams are setting up bullpens with power arms.”

Power is not a problem for this dynamic duo; Betances ranks first among all major-league relievers with 78 strikeouts, followed by Miller’s 69. Miller may be the student when it comes to preparatio­n, but he oozed with admiration over the way Betances gets ready to pitch every day.

“His preparatio­n and his mentality, he never gives in,” Miller said. “You never see him get flustered. When he’s on, he’s untouchabl­e. In this game, when you’re not feeling well, it’s how you find a way to perform. He’s as good as anyone I’ve ever seen at overcoming any sort of adversity. He always feels like he’s got it — and he backs it up.”

With three All-Star appearance­s in his first three full seasons, Betances’ career trajectory is as GETTY high as any reliever in the game. But with Miller signed for two more years, it’s entirely possible the hulking righthande­r won’t get a chance to be a closer until 2019, which would be his sixth full season in the league.

He doesn’t seem to mind, especially if it’s Miller he’s handing the ball to after he’s done his job.

“Back in the day, you had guys closing for three-inning saves; now you don’t really have that, but you need every inning,” Betances said. “My value is what I’m doing right now. I do multiple innings; that’s one of the reasons why I’m here because I’ve been able to pitch a lot of innings the last couple years and have success.

“I enjoyed closing last year when Drew went down for a little bit, but I just want to win so whatever it takes to win, whatever position I need to be in to help the team win, that’s what I’m focused on.”

Miller has shown no ego when it comes to his role, never uttering a word when he’s been moved in or out of the closer’s role. For him, winning is the only thing that matters, though he thinks he’ll have special memories of this All-Star Game whether the AL wins or loses.

“I’ll be able to tell my son I went to an All-Star Game with Dellin,” Miller said. “That’s how I’ll remember this, for sure.”

 ??  ?? Mets coach Tom Goodwin tries to get involved in mascot team picture on Monday.
Mets coach Tom Goodwin tries to get involved in mascot team picture on Monday.
 ??  ?? Orioles’ Manny Machado (from l.), Yankees’ Dellin Betances and Blue Jays’ Edwin Encarnacio­n hang out on field prior to Monday’s home-run derby.
Orioles’ Manny Machado (from l.), Yankees’ Dellin Betances and Blue Jays’ Edwin Encarnacio­n hang out on field prior to Monday’s home-run derby.

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