Robertson thriving as Yankees' secret weapon

Leave a comment

In previewing the Yankees’ playoff pitching staff most of the focus was understandably on the CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Andy Pettitte three-man rotation and the Mariano Rivera, Phil Hughes, and Joba Chamberlain three-man bullpen.
Because of off days and matchups those six guys figured to do just about all the relevant pitching for New York in the postseason, but two extra-inning games and Joe Girardi’s quick hooks have caused the Yankees to also rely upon David Robertson and the 24-year-old right-hander has emerged as another outstanding late-inning option.
Robertson has made a pair of appearances in the playoffs so far, working out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the 11th inning of ALDS Game 2 and then pitching a scoreless 13th frame in ALCS Game 2. He picked up the victory in both outings, which as Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes isn’t exactly how things were supposed to go for a rookie who missed most of September with an elbow injury.
However, when healthy Robertson shutting down hitters shouldn’t come as a surprise. He had a 3.30 ERA, 63/23 K/BB ratio, and .216 opponents’ batting average in 43.2 innings during the regular season, posting the highest strikeout rate among all big-league pitchers with at least 40 innings. And in a 25-game stint with the Yankees last season he struck out 36 batters in 30.1 frames.
Robertson’s minor-league track record is impeccable, with a 1.30 ERA and 215 strikeouts versus just 85 hits allowed in 152.2 innings since the Yankees selected him in the 17th round of the 2006 draft from the University of Alabama. Robertson’s emergence this season not only gives the Yankees an extra late-inning option during the playoffs, it gives them the flexibility to make Chamberlain and/or Hughes full-time starters in 2010.

Luis Valbuena to miss four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring

Kent Horner/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.

Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.

Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.

Raisel Iglesias injured elbow and hips falling in the shower

Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Reds reliever Raisel Iglesias hasn’t appeared in a Grapefruit League game since March 14 and now we know why. He injured his right elbow and both hips falling in the shower three weeks ago, Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. He has had anti-inflammatory shots applied in both areas and he’ll be be shut down from pitching for a few more days.

Iglesias might not be ready for Opening Day, according to manager Bryan Price. Iglesias, however, thinks otherwise. He said, “I’m going to be OK. I’m probably going to throw one bullpen, and after that, mentally and physically, I’ll be ready to join the season and compete.”

Price said throughout the offseason that he intended to pick his closer according to the matchups rather than naming one official closer. As a result, this injury likely doesn’t change much except that Michael Lorenzen, Drew Storen, and Tony Cingrani may get a few more early season save chances if Iglesias doesn’t start the season on time.

Iglesias, 27, finished last season with a 2.53 ERA and an 83/26 K/BB ratio in 78 1/3 innings across five starts and 32 relief appearances.