TAMPA — Nick Nelson is giving the Yankees something to think about in the short and long term — including whether his outings should be of the short or long variety.
The right-handed pitcher turned in two strong relief innings Monday at George M. Steinbrenner Field in his spring debut, flashing a fastball that reached 98 mph and a changeup that manager Aaron Boone called “a special pitch.”
“Showed you what makes him good and that’s a high-octane fastball, but his calling card’s that changeup,” Boone said after the Yankees’ 5-4 win over the Tigers. “He was able to get some key outs and some big swings and misses, even when he was behind in the count. He made a couple pitches when he needed to. The trust in that changeup to go along with that high-90s fastball is something we really like. I feel like he continues to grow in his polish a little bit. He’s definitely someone I and we are excited about.”
The 25-year-old Nelson made his big league debut last summer, giving up 11 earned runs in 20 ²/₃ innings of relief before tossing a pair of scoreless frames in the ALDS against the Rays. Six of the earned runs came in one brutal…