- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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MOOSIC, Pa. -- Scott Proctor doesn't think he was overused by the New York Yankees in 2006, and the right-handed reliever said he never felt the need to approach his former manager, Joe Torre, about getting the occasional day off.
"I"m not paid to make that call," said Proctor, who made a major league-high 83 appearances out of the Yankees' bullpen in 2006, and wound up compiling 102 1/3 innings. "My call is to do my job when the phone rings, and do it the best I can. I'm not into making that call."
Proctor, who signed a minor league deal with the Yankees on Saturday and is currently pitching at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, said he holds no grudges toward the organization.
"Nope. That's just the way it is," Proctor said. "We all wanna win. We all wanna play a lot. It's just the way the cards were dealt. You just try to deal with it and make adjustments. The ride (isn't) over yet."
Proctor wouldn't necessarily attribute the elbow pain he had to endure later in his career to how often he pitched when he was with the Yankees. Proctor had to undergo Tommy John surgery in 2009, and hasn't been the same since. Since 2008, he's pitched to a 6.23 ERA in 78 games with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves.
"You never wanna say I need a day off," said Proctor, 34, who was released by the Braves last week after compiling a 2-3 record and a 6.44 ERA in 31 appearances (29 1/3 innings). "And that's my thing. No one grows up wanting to be a guy that's only used once every five days. We all want to be every-day position players, and it's what you play Little League baseball to do. And that's as close as you can get to that as a reliever.
"To be one of those guys who's counted on down the stretch, that means you're doing something right. So I think it's a compliment to be used like that."
Earlier this season, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman criticized Torre for the way he handled Proctor in 2006.
"I met with Proctor and said, 'You better stop telling the manager this because the way he manages ... he wants an honest answer,'" Cashman said earlier this season, adding "there was no hypocrisy here."
Cashman said it was Torre's responsibility to make the decision and hinted that Torre put too much stock in his player's self-assessment.
"I'm not paying the pitcher to be the pitching coach, for instance, or the manager," Cashman said. "We're paying the manger to be the manager and I'm paying the pitching coach to be the pitching coach."
Cashman said overuse was not an issue with current manager Joe Girardi because "we have new people here that utilize people a certain way now."
Cashman added: "You can't put your assets in jeopardy. You can't overuse them or you lose them."
Proctor said he spoke with Cashman before signing with the Yankees, and thanked Cashman for standing up for him.
"We had that meeting (in 2006)," Proctor said. "And I don't feel that's in my job description. My job is to go out there and do my job when they ask me to take the mound. And again there's no regrets. I commend Cashman for the way he went about it. He was looking in the best interest of the players.
"I had a talk with him (in 2011) after that and thanked him for standing up, and saying what he did. But again, that's the way it is.
"If I had the opportunity to be used as much again, I'd do it in a heartbeat."
Proctor said he's glad to be back with the Yankees.
"I've always wanted to come back. I didn't wanna be traded (in 2007), I really liked it here. But it's just the way baseball is," Proctor said. "But to get the opportunity to come back, it was something I always wanted to do. I talked to my wife about it and took advantage of it. I don't know what my agent did, but as soon as he told me the Yankees had made an offer, I said let's take it.
"A lot of times you wait around, then you get yourself in a situation where it doesn't benefit you."
Proctor said that while his fastball velocity isn't going to reach 100 mph again, it has been consistently in the low-to-mid 90s. He noted that he's still working on his command and spotting his breaking pitches.
"I had a three-week stretch there (in Atlanta) where I couldn't get my wife out," Proctor said.
Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.
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