The New York Yankees have activated David Robertson from the 15-day disabled list, and the closer’s return could not have come at a better time.
With Ivan Nova’s UCL tear and imminent Tommy John surgery, the Yankees will have to fill the final spot in the rotation with an internal candidate, the likely choice being Adam Warren, David Phelps or Vidal Nuno. Naming one of these pitchers a starter, however, will cost the bullpen an arm.
Cesar Cabral was outrighted to Triple-A after a dreadful outing last Friday against the Tampa Bay Rays, during which he hit three consecutive batters and didn’t record an out. Preston Claiborne was called up to fill the vacant spot in the bullpen. The latter was expected to make the Opening Day roster as a reliever after a solid 2013, but a poor spring training left him in Triple-A. He did throw two shutout innings in his 2014 debut on Sunday, allowing just one hit with a walk and two strikeouts to earn the win in extras. Still, he hasn’t done enough to prove the bullpen would be fine without Warren, Phelps or Nuno.
With the return of Robertson, he won’t have to. Now Shawn Kelley can return to eighth inning duty, Warren, Phelps or Nuno can join the starting rotation while the other two join Claiborne to bolster middle relief.
Kelley performed admirably in Robertson’s absence. In 7.1 innings, he allowed just two runs for a 2.53 ERA to go with eight strikeouts and two walks. He earned four saves as the interim closer.
It’s reassuring that the Yankees have another pitcher who can slam the door in the ninth, but it’s good to have Robertson back.