New York Yankees: David Robertson

Girardi: Absolutely in a must-win situation

September, 22, 2013
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NEW YORK -- Earlier this week, Joe Girardi said the Yankees were "darn close" to being in "must-win" territory.

The manager updated his team's status after Sunday's loss to the San Francisco Giants.

"We are absolutely in a must-win situation," the manager said.

The 2-1 loss to San Francisco on Sunday pushed the Yankees four games back of the second wild card spot with six games to play.

New York hosts wild card-leading Tampa Bay for three games, starting Tuesday, then closes with three games at Houston.

So they are dangerously close to being mathematically eliminated from the postseason. The Bombers have missed the playoffs just twice in the last 19 seasons.

ROBERTSON SHOULDERS LOSS: He may not have been tagged with the loss, but David Robertson felt he let his teammates down by giving up the go-ahead double in Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Giants.

With the game tied at 1-1 in the eighth with a runner on third and one out, Robertson yielded a double to right field that put the Giants ahead for good.

"I threw a good curveball. He hit it. That was just a bad break today. I feel like I let everybody down. I let Andy down," Robertson said. "That was a tough situation but [I have to] find a way to get out of it."

Robertson entered the game after Andy Pettitte allowed a double to start the eighth. A groundout moved the runner to third with one out, setting up Robertson against Tony Abreu. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Abreu struggled with curveballs, and Robertson is lethal with that pitch.

On the first pitch of the at-bat, Abreu hit a curve to plate the run.

CANO TURNS ANKLE: Robinson Cano turned his ankle while trying to score in the eighth inning but said he's fine, according to Girardi. Cano stayed in the game.

[+] EnlargeRobinson Cano
Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY SportsRobinson Cano turned his ankle trying to score in the eighth inning Sunday.
In the eighth, Cano tried to score from second on a single by Eduardo Nunez and was thrown out at the plate. After the play, Cano came up gingerly and bent over seemingly in pain. Girardi said he believed Cano turned his ankle while sliding into the plate.

"He said he's OK," Girardi said. "We'll see how he is Tuesday."

Third-base coach Rob Thomson had no reservations in sending Cano.

"If that was the last out of the World Series I'd send him every time," Thomson said.

Cano was the second Yankee thrown out at home that inning. With runners on second and third with no outs, pinch-runner Zoilo Almonte was tagged out at home after going on a grounder to third. Nick Noonan had to dive for the ball but recovered to easily get Almonte.

"Initially he did the right thing when the ball was hit to third, but when he saw him dive he thought he could make it and it was a bad read," Girardi said.

GOING TO MISS THEM: Derek Jeter, who came up with Mariano Rivera and Pettitte, called Sunday's ceremony honoring Rivera "great," and also applauded the fans' appreciation for Pettitte.

"I'm going to miss them a lot," Jeter said. "These guys are brothers to me, been through quite a bit together. Pretty much everything you can experience on the field. My whole professional career I've been playing with at least one of them. I'll definitely miss them."

RIVERA DOES HIS PART: Rivera made his sixth appearance this season of one or more innings on Sunday when he threw 1 2/3 shutout innings against San Francisco.

"He does everything he possibly can to be successful to help the team," Girardi said. "In our lifetime, I don't know if we'll be able to say another pitcher did what he's done at 43. We have watched something that is truly special."

ROMO TIPS CAP TO MO: Giants closer Sergio Romo appreciated being at Yankee Stadium on the day of Rivera's tribute.

"I can only imagine what it was like to hear [Cal] Ripken's speech or [Lou] Gehrig's famous speech ... it's just fun to see somebody really enjoy everything and appreciate everything around them," Romo said.

Robertson proving a worthy successor

August, 22, 2013
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It will soon be David Robertson's job to close games for the New York Yankees (after Mariano Rivera retires) and based on what he's shown, the future of the position looks to be in pretty good shape.

Robertson earned his second save of the season with a scoreless ninth inning to complete a four-game sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday, as the Yankees crept a half-game closer to the AL East and Wild Card leaders.

It continued what has been an amazing run of success for him this season.

Let’s take a closer look at his impressive season.

Mariano-like numbers
Robertson has converted 29 straight holds and a pair of save chances without blowing one since his lone blown opportunity this season on April 20 against the Blue Jays.

Robertson has been almost unhittable in his last 27 appearances. In a stretch that dates back to June 19, he's allowed one run and one inherited runner to score in 26 innings. He's averaging just over 10 strikeouts per nine innings and has an 0.92 WHIP.

Like a Magician
Robertson has earned the nickname Houdini for his ability to escape difficult situations.

Opponents are 2-for-29 against him with runners on base and 1-for-12 with men in scoring position in his last 27 appearances.
That includes three outs with the bases loaded, including a pair of strikeouts in his other save against the Angels on August 12.

Robertson has retired 23 straight hitters with the bases loaded. The last pitcher with a longer streak was Jeff Brantley, with 30 straight from 1989 to 1991.

On Thursday, Robertson didn't put any men on base, but he did escape three consecutive 3-2 counts unscathed.

The back-against-the-wall approach is what Robertson does best. He's retired seven of the last nine hitters against whom he's had a 3-2 count.

Robertson has allowed one hit and seven walks to the 26 hitters he's faced with a 3-2 count this season. The average major-league pitcher would allow a combo of 12 hits and walks to that number of hitters.

What a combination
Robertson wrapped up Thursday's game with 18 pitches, of which 16 were fastballs, the other two curveballs.

Robertson will primarily throw fastballs and cutters prior to reaching a two-strike count, but it’s a near 50-50 split between those and the curveball when he’s a strike away from finishing the hitter. Robertson has the same number of strikeouts (32) with his fastball-cutter combo and his curveball this season.

The curveball in particular has become an almost impossible pitch for opposing hitters. They've only put 19 percent of their swings in play against that pitch, the best rate this season for any reliever who has thrown at least 100 curveballs.

Looking Ahead
The Yankees have now won 12 of 13 against the Blue Jays this season, but they're a sub-.500 team against all other opponents. They'll head on the road next for a series with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Robertson had a lot of trouble with the Rays last season, losing to them three times, but he's since recovered. In six appearances in 2013, he's allowed no runs and three hits in six innings, with 10 strikeouts.

Kuroda's gem wasted in 2-1 loss

July, 7, 2013
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NEW YORK -- Sunday's blown save had a little more sting to it for Mariano Rivera after watching Hiroki Kuroda dissect the Orioles all afternoon.

"It's difficult. It's a loss. But the way [Hiroki] Kuroda was pitching, he was doing outstanding. He did great," Rivera said. "It would have been a good game to save. I don't say the other ones aren't good, but this one should have been great, but I didn't [get it done]."

[+] EnlargeHiroki Kuroda
Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY SportsHiroki Kuroda scorched the Birds over seven scoreless innings.
Kuroda pitched a brilliant game on Sunday as he held the Orioles scoreless over seven innings in the Yankees' 2-1 loss to Baltimore. Kuroda yielded three hits and cruised through 88 pitches.

"It was good to see him get out there and throw extremely well," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I thought his sinker was good and I thought his splitter was extremely good today."

Kuroda had been scheduled to start Friday, but was pushed back due to a hip issue. An MRI came back clean and Kuroda's bullpen session Friday went well, allowing the team to slot him into the rotation on Sunday. The Yankees had to rearrange their rotation due to starter David Phelps going on the DL.

Facing an Orioles team that tagged him for three homers and four runs a week ago, Kuroda pitched his best game in more than a month. Armed with a devastating splitter, Kuroda held the the Orioles to just four baserunners, and he allowed just one walk over his final 13 batters. The Orioles went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position against Kuroda, who lowered his ERA to 2.77.

"I was trying to keep us in the ball game," Kuroda said. "With a one-run lead, I think I was able to do that."

Saddled with a no-decision on Sunday, Kuroda has now won just one game in his past nine starts. Sunday seemed like it would be the second one, but a rare blown save kept him from win No. 8.

"It was a good situation to have [David] Robertson in the eighth and Mariano in the ninth," Kuroda said. "With that, if we don't get the win, nothing you can do about it."

ROBERTSON WANTS IN:
David Robertson hopes to take part in the festivities at Citi Field on July 16.

"I would love to go the All-Star game, especially with Mo [Rivera] in his last year, it would be a lot fun, and it being in New York too," Robertson said. "We'll see what happens. Hopefully I can win in the votes."

Robertson is part of the Final Vote, where fans will select the final member of the AL All-Star team in balloting that runs through Thursday. Robertson is alongside four other relievers in Detroit's Joaquin Benoit, Toronto's Steve Delabar, Boston's Koji Uehara and Texas' Tanner Scheppers.

In 2010, former Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher won the Final Vote and went all out in his campaign to get in, even posing with a surfboard. Robertson isn't quite sure which direction his campaign is going to go at the minute, but it won't be emulating Swisher's.

"I'm sure we'll try to do everything we can to win," Robertson said. "I don't know if you'll see me in a surfboard and a Tommy Bahama."
NEW YORK -- It wasn't quite on par with the Mets' Cougar-gate moment, but under prompting from the YES Network's Meredith Marakovits, Joe Girardi took time out of his Sunday morning news conference to electioneer for his eighth-inning guy, David Robertson, who is one of the five candidates for the final spot on the AL All-Star roster, to be determined by online fan voting.

"Yeah, please go and vote for him as many times as you can," Girardi said. "This is a kid that’s really deserving."

D-Rob: 'I did a terrible job'

May, 27, 2013
5/27/13
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Yankees reliever David Robertson unleashed his inner Bill Walton in assessing his first loss of the season.

"I did a terrible job out there," Robertson said after giving up the go-ahead run in the eighth in the Subway Series opener, a 2-1 Yankees loss. "I didn't have any command of anything. That was pretty much the downfall there. I couldn't throw a fastball where I wanted to. I kept falling behind the count and when you make mistakes like that against good teams, they make you pay for it."

[+] EnlargeDavid Robertson
AP Photo/Kathy WillensDavid Robertson allowed two hits, a walk and a run in two-thirds of an inning on Monday night.
The Mets (19-29) are really no one's idea of a good team, but you get where Robertson was coming from.

After Robertson struck out Ike Davis, Mike Baxter doubled. Robertson then walked pinch-hitter Jordany Valdespin. Against Ruben Tejada, Yankees catcher Chris Stewart inexplicably gave up a passed ball to put runners on second and third.

"I've caught that same pitch a thousand times," Stewart said.

Still, Robertson forced Tejada to ground to second baseman Robinson Cano, who threw to home to prevent the go-ahead run from scoring. It appeared that Robertson might live up to his Houdini moniker once again. But Robertson fell behind Daniel Murphy 3-1, and Murphy drove a single to center for what would be the game winner.

"I threw a handful of good pitches, but I threw a lot of bad pitches," Robertson said.

It was Robertson's first loss of the season, and his ERA rose to 3.00.

"It just shows you Robbie is not going to be able to do it 100 percent of the time," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He has been so good for us. It is just one of those nights."

Postgame notes: Tex hits off a tee

May, 2, 2013
5/02/13
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Mark Teixeira (wrist) hit off a tee and took some soft toss in the cage, Joe Girardi confirmed.

"He said he felt really good," Girardi said. "He will do it again, I'm assuming Friday. We'll try to continue to progress. It is another step in the right direction."

Teixeira is still a long ways off, but he has moved into the next stage of his rehab. The end of the month still seems like the most optimistic return date.

2) D-ROB A-OK: David Robertson said he felt something in his hamstring as he left the mound when Fernando Martinez grounded out to end the eighth. Robertson said he thought he might come in on Thursday for some treatment, but he did not think the injury was serious at all.

3) MO LEADS THE RELIEVERS: After David Phelps struggled in the fourth, he lasted into the sixth before handing the ball to Boone Logan, Robertson and Mariano Rivera. The trio combined for the final 10 outs with Rivera allowing the only hit. Rivera picked up the save, his 11th in as many chances. It is the third longest streak of his career to start a season. He saved his first 28 in 2008 and his initial 12 in 2004.

4) NO-MO: The Yankees gave Phelps a four-run lead, but he gave it right back in the fourth. The worst thing he did, according to Girardi, was hit a couple of guys. Phelps knows he didn't make the most of his first opportunity to claim the fifth starter spot.

"The fourth inning killed all the momentum," Phelps said.

5) EXTRA BASE OVERBAY: Lyle Overbay had a double, which gives him at least one extra base hit in four of his last five games.

Hughes & D-Rob file for arbitration

January, 15, 2013
1/15/13
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Phil Hughes, David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain and Boone Logan have all filed for arbitration, according to the MLBPA.

Hughes made $3.2 million in 2012. He is eligible to be a free agent after 2013.
Robertson made $1.6 million in 2012. He is eligible to be a free agent after 2014.
Chamberlain made $1.675 million in 2012. He is eligible to be a free agent after 2013.
Logan made $1.875 million in 2012. He is eligible to be a free agent after 2013.

The Yankees and the players can come to agreements before the February hearings. All of these players will receive raises.

QUESTION: If you could keep one, and only one, of the four mentioned above for 2014 and beyond, who and why?

Notebook: Ichiro wins battle with sun

September, 19, 2012
9/19/12
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It was the top of the eighth inning. The Yankees were ahead 3-2. The bases were loaded. There were two outs.

And Ichiro Suzuki didn’t want the ball hit his way.

“I was hoping that it would go to right field,” said Suzuki, who was staring into the sun in left.

“Maybe my prayers weren’t good enough.”

Nope. Rajai Davis lined a ball right at him. Suzuki had trouble with it, but ended up making an extremely difficult basket catch to preserve his team’s lead. The Yankees went on to beat the Blue Jays 4-2 in the first game of a day-night doubleheader on Wednesday.

Suzuki, 38, stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 170 pounds.

“I’m glad I don’t have a big belly because the ball might have hit the belly and popped out,” he joked.

Suzuki, batting in the leadoff spot in place of Derek Jeter, who got the afternoon off, went 3-for-4 at the plate with a double and two runs scored.

• David Robertson’s struggles in September continued.

He allowed two runs on four hits in just two-thirds of an inning in the eighth. In this month alone, Robertson has allowed seven runs on 15 hits in nine innings.

“I had a rough day. I just didn’t really make any good pitches,” Robertson said. “I wasn’t throwing strikes. And when I’d get ahead, I wouldn’t make a good pitch. But we won the ballgame, so I can live with it.”

Robertson is hopeful that he’ll be able to pitch the nightcap.

“I’m hoping they let me get in there tonight,” he said. “I’d like to rebound after that earlier outing today.”

Rafael Soriano picked up Robertson and finished off his fifth save of more than one inning.

After inheriting two runners from Robertson in the eighth, Soriano walked the first batter he faced, Anthony Gose, to load the bases. But Soriano got Davis to line to Suzuki to end the threat.

Soriano said he’s comfortable getting four-out saves if need be, and will see if he’ll be available for Game 2. He now has 41 saves this season and has saved New York’s past five victories.

• The Yankees have won three straight, five of six and eight of 12. ... Robinson Cano went 2-for-4 and has hit 42 doubles this season. ... Alex Rodriguez has 12 RBIs in 14 games since returning from the disabled list. ... Nick Swisher had only one RBI in his previous 13 games before singling in an insurance run in the ninth.

Postgame notes: Grandy, D-Rob, Swish

August, 26, 2012
8/26/12
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CLEVELAND -- Curtis Granderson returned to his locker after today's 4-2 win to find his name tag replaced with the number 200 and a bottle of champagne chilling in an ice bucket. But Granderson, who stubbornly insists he is not a home run hitter, refused to exult in the moment. "I would never have imagined it, never expected it, it wasn’t a goal of mine,'' he said of hitting his 200th career home run, which as also his 33rd of the season.

So how many would it take for him to finally consider himself a, well, you-know-what? "If I get to 500 maybe I might,'' he said. "Yeah, I guess that would put me in that category.''

David Robertson survived a nerve-wracking week in the midwest, jumping every time his phone rang or a text message came in, because his wife, Erin, is a week beyond her due date with their first child, a boy. "I get a little nervous, especially when people text me in the morning at 9 a.m. and I’m still asleep," he said. "I'm like, uh-oh. ’I always freak out for a second."

When it comes time to pitch, however, he said, "I'm in there. I'm not worried about anything else except getting my outs and helping us win the game." On the trip, Robertson pitched three scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out three.

Nick Swisher had three hits, including an RBI single and a double to the base of the centerfield fence in the seventh inning. Swisher was 9-for-21 (.429) and since moving to the No. 2 slot in the batting order on August 8 is hitting .357 (25-for-70) with five HRs.

Robertson can't work around leadoff walk

July, 30, 2012
7/30/12
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Even Houdini can't work around leadoff walks.

Yankees reliever David Robertson surrendered the game-winning run Sunday after he walked the leadoff batter in the 10th inning of the Yankees' 3-2 loss to the Red Sox. Robertson yielded two hits and that base-on-balls in his lone inning of work, as he fell to 1-4 on the season.

"That's what haunts me in that inning, the leadoff walk. Leadoff walks always come back to haunt you," Robertson said. "First pitch (Jarrod) Saltalamacchia swung and I couldn't make a pitch after that."

Entering a 2-2 game, Robertson lost the strike zone against Saltalamacchia and gave him a free pass, committing a cardinal sin in baseball. After getting ahead 0-2 on Will Middlebrooks, which included a controversial foul ball that led to two ejections, Robertson yielded a single.

Then with two on and one out, he became the latest victim of Pedro Ciriaco, as the shortstop blooped an inside fastball to short right to score the go-ahead run.

"It's tough but it's part of the game," Robertson said of the bloop. "You're going to catch bad breaks at times. He hit a good pitch, he hit it where no one could catch it. That's all you can say. It's a tough break and all you can do is be ready for tomorrow."

During Middlebrooks' at-bat, when he squared to bunt and the ball appeared to careen and hit him on the forearm and umpire Brian O'Nora on the leg, the game stopped for several minutes. The two were checked on after being hit by the foul ball, and Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine later argued the ruling before both he and Josh Beckett were ejected. Robertson said the delay did not affect him.

"That's part of the game. It happens sometimes," he said. "Not a whole lot you can do about it except you try to remain calm and focused and collected and ready to make a pitch."

KURODA SHINES: The Yankees didn't fall Sunday because of a lack of starting pitching. Veteran Hiroki Kuroda pitched eight fantastic innings and held the Red Sox to just two runs in a no-decision. He's 4-0 with a 2.76 ERA since June 25.

"(He was) resilient, he got a number of double-play balls," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I thought he pitched a really good game. He gave us a lot of length and did a good job."

In his previous start against Boston on July 6, Kuroda had arguably his worst outing, getting teed up for 10 hits and seven runs. He was much better this time, making just one mistake in the second as he gave up a two-run double to Ryan Sweeney. The veteran induced four double plays in his eight innings, including an inning-ending one with the Yankees down 2-0 with runners on the corners and one out in the sixth.

MARTIN STEPS UP: All the Yankees' offense came courtesy of Russell Martin, who blasted a home run in the seventh to slice it to 2-1, and then singled in the eighth to tie the game.

"I feel good right now," Martin said. "I feel like I'm seeing the ball well. That's the first key, seeing the ball well. I feel like I'm seeing it nice."

Pregame notes: D-Rob, Gino, Swisher

June, 15, 2012
6/15/12
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WASHINGTON -- David Robertson is officially back in uniform and ready to go tonight, and Joe Girardi said there would be no restrictions on his use as the set-up man for closer Rafael Soriano. But Girardi did indicate there might be some flexibility to the way he uses Robertson now that he's off the DL.

"It'll be Robby and Sori in the eighth and ninth, and I'll use (Boone Logan) in the seventh," Girardi said. "(But) there could come a situation too, if you've got left-right-left in the eighth and you've got three right-handers in the seventh, maybe you flip Robertson and Boonie around a little bit."

• Former Yankees trainer Gene Monahan brought his scissors and adhesive tape out of retirement for the weekend while his successor, Steve Donohue, spends the next couple of days at home at his daughter's graduation.

Nick Swisher spent his day at the International Spy Museum in downtown D.C. and came back with a pretty serious-looking book about the history of the CIA, which he actually said he was going to read.

• Significant matchups vs. Gio Gonzalez tonight: Mark Teixeira (.357, 5-for-14, 1 HR), Jayson Nix (.429, 3-for-7, 1 HR), Alex Rodriguez (.250, 2-for-8), Derek Jeter (.167, 2-for-12) Curtis Granderson (.154, 2-for-13, 4 K's).

Phil Hughes has never started against the Nationals but did appear against them one time in relief. He has faced only one of the hitters in their lineup tonight, Ryan Zimmerman, and struck him out in his only at-bat.

First Pitch: Bullpen holding down fort

June, 10, 2012
6/10/12
7:00
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It's not exactly the most imposing group of arms ever assembled, but the Yankees' bullpen continues to get the job done.

As injuries have ravaged the pen, it's safe to say this isn't the group of relievers Joe Girardi expected to be turning to for closing out games in June. Look at what happened Saturday: The quartet of Boone Logan, Cory Wade, Clay Rapada and Rafael Soriano closed out the Mets in a 4-2 win.

While Soriano and Logan had defined roles coming into the season, Wade and Rapada were guys expected to be pitching in games with a margin for error -- not in the seventh and eighth innings of a tight game against the Mets. That's where Soriano and the injured David Robertson would be used, leading up to Mariano Rivera, who is out for the rest of the season.

While losing two arms of that caliber would be crushing for most teams, the Yankees have handled the injuries fine so far. Since Robertson went on the disabled list retroactive to May 14, there isn't one game that you can pinpoint the blame solely on the bullpen. In fact, of the Yankees' 10 losses since then, just two have come against the relievers, and both of them were on walk-offs. Those kind of losses happen from time to time during the course of the year.

It's helped that Soriano has been automatic as the closer since taking over for Rivera and Robertson, but he's not the only one pitching admirably. It has been a collective effort. When players go down, others have to pick up the slack, and the Yankees' bullpen has been doing that.

This doesn't mean it will hold up for the whole year. Perhaps, at some point in the future, the bullpen will struggle without Rivera in the ninth and with others having to step into bigger roles.

At the moment, though, and as they showed on Saturday night, the maligned bullpen continues to do the job and help close out wins. And it should only help the bullpen become stronger and deeper if Robertson can return at the end of next week.

UP NOW: Andrew Marchand writes about the Yankees clicking on all cylinders and going for the sweep against the Mets on Sunday. I wrote about Phil Hughes' string of good starts.

IN THE HOLE: Just like yesterday, Adam Rubin, Marchand and I will be in the Bronx and have you covered in the clubhouses.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Which reliever has impressed you the most in the absence of Rivera and Robertson?

Injury updates: Kuroda, Joba, D-Rob

June, 9, 2012
6/09/12
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Hiroki Kuroda still plans to make his next scheduled start on Wednesday in Atlanta, but first he needs to throw a bullpen session and see how he feels.

Kuroda took a liner off his left foot in the seventh inning Friday night against the Mets, and X-rays taken after the game were negative.

The veteran picked up the win with his excellent outing of seven scoreless innings.

"Much better than yesterday," Kuroda said, through a translator, about his bruised foot, which was heavily wrapped.

Kuroda, who had a limp as he walked around the clubhouse, said he plans to throw his bullpen on Sunday, but if he can't, he would then postpone the bullpen to Monday.

General manager Brian Cashman said he's less concerned about Kuroda after seeing him Saturday, saying the pitcher feels good. Manager Joe Girardi, like Kuroda, will wait and see how the veteran feels this week before making any determination.

There has not been any discussion as to what other routes the team might take if Kuroda can't start. The Yankees do not have an off day between now and Wednesday, but there are long relievers like David Phelps who could step in if needed.

"We haven't gotten that far," Girardi said. "We'll cross that bridge if we have to do. Hopefully we won't."

JOBA PROGRESS: Cashman is encouraged by the progress of reliever Joba Chamberlain. Chamberlain threw off a mound Friday for the first time since dislocating his right ankle in March, and also ran outfield sprints. He hasn't pitched since undergoing Tommy John surgery last year, and his ankle injury set him back.

"That's a good sign," Cashman said of the sprints. "He's got some hurdles to clear given the circumstances of his injury and obviously if he can get through stuff like that on a consistent basis, that's a great sign. We don't even know if he can be a runner on a consistent basis going forward."

Chamberlain told the Associated Press that he felt good and is confident he will pitch this season. While Cashman would not guarantee Chamberlain's return, he said it's possible, and the team would use him in the Bronx if he clears all the hurdles.

"He's always Superman. He gets hurt, unfortunately that happens in his career, and he heals a lot quicker than the time frames," Cashman said. "He both breaks down and he's a super healer."

D-ROB ON SUNDAY: Girardi confirmed that reliever David Robertson(strained left oblique) will pitch Sunday in Rochester for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The Yankees plan for Robertson to also throw Tuesday, and if all goes well, he could possibly return to the Yanks late next week. Robertson has been on the disabled list since May 14.

AARDSMA UPDATE: Cashman indicated that reliever David Aardsma, who is working his way back from Tommy John surgery, could be close to pitching in rehab games. Aardsma threw his third bullpen session in Tampa on Friday, hurling 40 pitches.

"I don't want to set a timetable on it, but he's in batting practice, which is the last thing you do before you put him in a rehab game," Cashman said.

The GM added that Aardsma would head to the Bronx once he's ready to do so.

Notes: Martin talks to MLB

June, 1, 2012
6/01/12
8:46
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Yankees catcher Russell Martin said he spoke to MLB on Friday about his spat with home plate umpire Laz Diaz.

Joe Torre, MLB's Vice President for Baseball Operations, called to find out about the incident -- in which Diaz wouldn't allow Martin to throw new baseballs to his pitchers after fouls in the Yankees' 6-5 victory over the Angels on Wednesday. It was Diaz's way of punishing Martin because he argued some balls and strikes.

"He just wanted to know what happened," Martin said of the phone call with Torre. "I guess he spoke to Laz and wanted to speak to me to see both sides of the story.''

Martin isn't sure if MLB will take action with any sort of fine. "I haven't been told anything,'' he said. "I don't want anybody to get fined, to be honest. That day is over. I already feel like it's already old news to me.''

Martin said he doesn't regret anything that happened Wednesday in Anaheim. "I don't,'' he said. "I didn't say anything that bad.''

Martin added that after talking with Torre, he believes the matter is closed.

Joe Girardi, a former catcher, doesn't expect there to be any carryover the next time Diaz is behind the plate working a Yankees game.

"We might not see him for three months,'' Girardi said. "I'm not concerned. And I'm sure baseball will watch. He understands that, too. This will die. I don't think this will become a huge story.''

GARDNER UPDATE: Girardi said on Friday before the game that he's hopeful left fielder Brett Gardner could return as soon as next weekend.

Gardner has been out since April 18 with a right elbow strain.

"It probably just depends on the first game he gets in,'' Girardi said. "I think it's possible that you can have him next weekend or the series after that.''

Girardi said Gardner did well in his drills on Friday, including BP in the cage. "Eventually we'll get him on the field, he'll start hitting pretty soon and then we'll get him in some games,'' he said. "So he's doing OK.''

D-ROB UPDATE: Girardi wasn't as optimistic when it came to a timetable for reliever David Robertson, who has been out since May 15th with a strained left oblique.

Robertson was scheduled to throw a bullpen on Saturday, although he could be pushed back until Sunday after rain washed him out today.

"You got to get him a BP and you got to him in some games, you got to get him into more than one game,'' Girardi said.

Girardi said there are different challenges in getting a reliever back from the disabled list. "Problem with a reliever is that you can't go three days in a row or four days in a row like a position player,'' he said.

GRANDY LOOKING FOR HITS: Curtis Granderson still loves the long ball. Granderson hit his 17th homer of the season in the second, a grand slam. But before the game, batting coach Kevin Long said he now wants him to start mixing in some double and triples.

"It's been basically feast or famine, '' Grandy said. "I just want to repeat the good swing over and you're going to get your doubles. Maybe you didn't get it all the way, but you got it enough.''

LEYLAND RESPECTS CANO: It's not often that a manager shows public admiration for a player on another team. But Jim Leyland can't help but let people know how much he likes Yankees All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano.

In spring training, Leyland went out of way to speak and give Cano a nice hug before the Yankees and Tigers played in Lakeland. "I think I have as much respect for Robinson Cano as an opposing player as any player I've managed against,'' Leyland said. "I just think he's so special. I'm not going to get into some formal dissertation about it. I just think he, to me, is a great, great player.''

In 2006, Leyland was on board about how good Cano was already. In talking about the Yankees' lineup in that first round playoff series, Leyland described the lineup as, "Murderers' Row and Cano.'' Leyland believes he's a super hitter.

Leyland's love for Cano wasn't in any way in disrespect to any of his players. It's just that Leyland loves baseball and a player who can play it so effortlessly. "He's playing on that big stage all the time and the guy's just like so calm, so collected. You hate to say it. I don't really pass that much praise out to opposing players. But let me put it this way: When he's playing against other teams in the American League, I really enjoy watching him play.''

You can bet, however, that Leyland hoped Cano didn't do any damage against his team this weekend.
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- David Robertson, out of action since May 14 with a strained left oblique, played catch today in Tampa and according to Joe Girardi. "Everything went well,'' he said, which only means his ribcage is still attached. Robertson will play catch again tomorrow, but the manager had no more information to offer on when his erstwhile 8th-inning guy and short-lived Interim Closer might return. ... No such uncertainty with Russell Martin, who has apparently recovered from the stiff neck he suffered lifting some dumbbells -- not the human variety -- on Saturday and was rewarded with a start tonight against Jered Weaver, against whom he has pretty good numbers: 8-for-24 (.333) with a home run and three RBI. ... Girardi was a little perturbed to learn the Angels had released their lineup before the Yankees had gotten a look at it. Girardi was particularly interested in whether Torii Hunter, who has been on the restricted list since May 14 dealing with the arrest of his teenaged son, had been reactivated. "Someone said they saw a Tweet from him saying, 'I'm back,'" Girardi said. "But since I don't deal in Tweets, so I don't know. We haven't seen a lineup yet.'' Told the Angels lineup was already available in the pressbox and yes, had been Tweeted, Girardi said, "The lineup? They already had the lineup cards out? I mean, that’s bull. How long was it out?'' Upon learning the lineup had been out for more than a half-hour, he had one question: "Is (Hunter) in the lineup?'' Told he was not, Girardi calmed down. "OK, then. My guess is, if he’s not in the lineup, he’s not active."

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
13 2.77 141 136
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146