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Zack Britton opens up on Yankees exercising contract option for 2022

The Yankees picked up LHP Zack Britton’s contract option, as SNY MLB insider Andy Martino first reported Oct. 29, keeping a key bullpen piece around for 2021 and ’22.

Given the Yankees’ numbers crunch amid a pandemic-tightened budget for MLB teams, not even Britton was entirely sure of his situation, but he emerged from a call with general manager Brian Cashman ready to go.

“There definitely was (a doubt), due to, obviously, financial situations that teams are in, for what they’re saying and, yeah, I didn’t know,” Britton said Wednesday on YES Network with Yankees clubhouse reporter Meredith Marakovits. “Me and my agent, Scott Boras, we really didn’t discuss in great length what was going to happen if they didn’t and what we were going to do in regards to free agency and things like that. So it was nice, obviously, to get that call from Cash’ talking about it. Obviously, I’m excited to stay in New York for the next two years and hopefully win a championship is the reason why I came here in the first place. So to have two more years to kind of realize that goal would be nice.”

Had the Yankees declined a $14 million option for 2022, Britton would have been able to test free agency this winter.

Britton enters his age-33 season in 2021 after a strong 2020 campaign with the Yankees. He went 1-2 with a 1.89 ERA in 19 IP over 20 regular-season games, striking out 16 while walking seven and anchoring the Yankees’ uneven-at-times bullpen.

A ground-ball pitcher, Britton pointed to an improved feel on his sinker for the 2020 season’s sharp outings.