CLEVELAND -- When Dellin Betances reported to Spring Training, the Yankees had hoped that the hard-throwing right-hander would be able to put it all together, but it was a late March outing against the Blue Jays that made Joe Girardi really believe it was happening.
As Girardi recalled on Monday, a March 23 outing at George M. Steinbrenner Field made the Yanks' coaches take notice. Betances entered with the bases loaded in the seventh inning, leaving them that way by striking out Jose Bautista looking and getting Edwin Encarnacion to fly out to left field.
"He came in with the bases loaded and was dominant," Girardi said. "I thought, 'You know what, maybe it's clicking.' ... You could see that there was deception there and they didn't see the ball real well off of him."
It has been quite a rush for Betances, who locked down his first career save in the Yankees' 5-3 win over the Indians on Monday at Progressive Field. It was his first appearance since being named as one of the Yankees' three All-Stars on Sunday, joining Derek Jeter and Masahiro Tanaka.
"It's pretty cool. I was just trying to go out there and keep it the same," Betances said. "Make pitches, and thank God I was able to do that. For me, I'm just enjoying every day with the team, and just trying to go out there and do my job."
Betances owns a 1.55 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 38 appearances.
"Dellin obviously has had a big first half, he's an All-Star and he pitched great tonight," Brett Gardner said. "It's nice having him in the back end of the bullpen."
Beltran out of lineup with swelling in right knee
CLEVELAND -- Carlos Beltran was held out of the Yankees' lineup for Monday's 5-3 win over the Indians after reporting mild swelling in the back of his right knee, but manager Joe Girardi is hopeful that the veteran can get back on the field on Tuesday.
"I had a swing yesterday and my spike got caught in the batter's box," Beltran said. "Today I felt tight in the back of my knee. It's not the knee -- they said something about the hamstring tendon there, attached in the back of the knee.
"That has happened to me before. Hopefully, tomorrow I can come and be in the lineup."
Beltran was seen by the Indians' team doctor at Progressive Field on Monday, and anti-inflammatories were prescribed as treatment. He did not have an MRI, and Girardi said that the Yankees have not planned any other tests.
"Sometimes you can tweak it with just a swing," Girardi said. "Sometimes a spike can get caught and it can happen. I don't think it's terribly unusual."
Beltran has eight hits in his last 30 at-bats, raising his average to .216 with nine home runs and 28 RBIs in 61 games.
"He's been swinging the bat better," Girardi said. "Obviously, he's a switch-hitter that we put between our lefties and has power. He's a run producer."
Jeter reminisces about first Opening Day
CLEVELAND -- For Derek Jeter, return visits to the facility now known as Progressive Field will always produce memories of Opening Day 1996, which teammate David Cone would later refer to as Jeter's "coming-out party."
Jeter hit his first Major League home run, a fifth-inning solo homer off the Indians' Dennis Martinez, and contributed a sharp catch on an Omar Vizquel popup in the Yankees' 7-1 victory that afternoon.
"Your first Opening Day is pretty memorable, pretty special," Jeter said. "I was excited for that day. We got snowed out the day before, so we had to wait a while. It seemed like we had to wait forever to get that first one underway."
Earlier this year, Jeter said that he ranks that April 2, 1996, contest as one of his two favorite Opening Days; the other was the Yankees' 1996 home opener, better remembered as the Andy Pettitte snow game against the Royals.
"I like playing here. I like this stadium," Jeter said. "I've always liked coming here and playing. We've had some great battles with some really, really good Cleveland teams. They beat us in '97, we came back and beat them in '98. I enjoy coming here. It's a nice stadium and the fans have always been great."
Jeter said that he was looking forward to renewing acquaintances with former teammates Jason Giambi and Nick Swisher during the Yankees' stay in Cleveland.
"They're both great teammates," Jeter said. "Jason is probably one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. He's just a good guy. Swisher is a fun personality who enjoys coming [to the ballpark]. He's got a lot of opinions, which I'm sure you know. They were both fun to play with. I enjoyed my time with them."
• Right-hander Brandon McCarthy, who was acquired in a trade from the D-backs on Sunday in exchange for left-hander Vidal Nuno, is expected to join the Yankees on Tuesday. McCarthy is scheduled to make his Yankees debut against the Indians on Wednesday.
• Girardi said that he believes closer David Robertson (2.93 ERA in 26 appearances, 21-for-23 in save opportunities entering Monday) deserved to be selected as an All-Star, and Girardi hopes that there is still time for that to happen.
"Obviously, there's always people that have to bow out," he said. "I've said it all along -- if you like people that strike people out in key situations, he's pretty good at it. You take away his one outing against Minnesota, his numbers are as good as anyone's in baseball. And from a strikeout ratio, even better."
• Right-hander Michael Pineda has progressed to playing catch at 90 feet. The Yankees hope to have him throw from a mound by the end of this week, with a mid-August return to the big leagues standing as his best-case scenario.