Every day, the Yankees make a card that lists the weekly workload of each reliever in the bullpen. The card tells Joe Girardi everything, including whether a pitcher was “hot” in the bullpen. Depending on that workload, some pitchers are given a red star.
“Lately I’ve had a lot of red stars on my card,” Girardi said.
As you might imagine, after last night’s game, the bullpen — who’s available, who’s not, and how the Yankees decide — was a lengthy topic during Girardi’s pregame session this afternoon at The Trop.
Dave Robertson was not available last night because he’d thrown three out of four days, including 36 pitches on Saturday, which was nearly a season-high. Girardi likes to give his relievers two days off after they’ve gone three out of four.
Joba Chamberlain was also considered a three-out-of-four guy. He had only pitched Wednesday and Friday, but Saturday night he got “hot” in the bullpen. That meant he was loosened up enough to enter the game, and the Yankees count that when they count a player’s workload. Girardi had been specifically asked about Chamberlain’s availability on Saturday night, and Girardi said he didn’t pitch enough in the pen to be unavailable. Girardi said it was only later that he learned Chamberlain was completely ready to go, and that’s why he was out of the mix last night.
“You don’t want to give them two days off, and you want to be able to use them in the game last night,” Girardi said. “But I’ve said that a guy’s health in his career and the future of this organization is more important than one game. I’m not going to jeopardize that. People might disagree. These guys have worked really hard to get into this situation, and I don’t want to be the one to hurt them. Sometimes players don’t know how to say no.”
• Girardi said every reliever except Chad Gaudin should be available tonight.
• There is some hope that Brett Gardner could be back in the lineup tomorrow. He said his wrist feels considerably better today that yesterday, and Girardi told him not to swing because he wasn’t going to let him hit in the game anyway. “We’ll shoot for tomorrow,” Girardi said. “I wouldn’t give you odds, but he did say he felt better today. I told him not to take any swings today, because I don’t think it makes sense to try to swing today if we’re trying to rest it.”
• Nick Swisher probably won’t play until Baltimore. “I wouldn’t think we’ll have him tomorrow, and then we’ll just continue to evaluate,” Girardi said.
• As long as Andy Pettitte comes through tonight’s rehab start without a setback, he should be ready to return to the big league rotation. “I would imagine,” Girardi said. “As long as he feels good and says he’s ready to go. I think it’s going to be hard to find places for him to pitch after today.”
• To have a chance to win this series, the Yankees need to win tonight behind rookie starter Ivan Nova. “This is no doubt his biggest test,” Girardi said. “It seems that every test he’s had so far, he’s done pretty well.”
Associated Press photos of the bullpen — Robertson and Chamberlain at the top — and Gardner