Dave Robertson is back at Yankee Stadium, but he’s still probably a week and a half away from being back on the active roster. When he does return, he’ll probably fall back into a setup role behind Yankees new closer Rafael Soriano.
“We’re probably going to put Robby in some situations in the eighth inning when he comes back, and then we’ll just go from there,” Joe Girardi said. “Soriano has done a very good job, whatever we’ve asked him to do. We feel that they’re interchangeable. Sori has the experience down there. Let’s just get Robby back and see how he’s throwing the baseball, but I expect that we’ll try to insert him into the eighth inning to start out. I would love to be able to do that, eighth inning and a lead.”
Robertson threw a 35-pitch bullpen at the Stadium this afternoon. He hopes to face hitters on Thursday, and if that goes well, he’ll start a rehab assignment. There’s no official timetable for his return, but late next week seems to make sense.
“I’ve cut it loose,” Robertson said. “Now it’s about being sharp again, and getting game ready. … I was really hoping I was going to be back in Detroit. I wasn’t ready. If everything goes well, (be back in) eight or nine days, hopefully.”
Does Robertson care whether he returns to the eighth or the ninth inning?
“As long as we win games, I don’t really care,” Robertson said. “(Soriano)’s good! What do you want me to say about it? He’s got a lot of saves under his belt. He knows how to pitch. I didn’t ever think about it as me being the closer. I still thought it was going to be the same thing — whenever the opportunity arises, you go for it.”
• Brett Gardner got five at-bats today in extended spring training. He’ll take batting practice tomorrow, then play in another game on Thursday. Girardi said it’s still possible that Gardner will be activated this weekend, but it sounds like early next week might be more likely. “We’re not going to play him tomorrow, then we’ll probably play him a few days in a row,” Girardi said. “Just have to see how he does. It’s possible (to get him back this weekend), but we’ll just have to see how it goes.”
• Robinson Cano has decided to participate in the Home Run Derby again this year, and he’ll serve as the American League team captain after winning the thing last year. “I would like to take Granderson, but I don’t know if he wants to do it,” Cano said. “I haven’t talked to him yet. Besides that, I haven’t thought of anybody yet. But I might in the next few days.”
• Cano said he fully intends to have his father pitch to him again this year. “Oh yeah, definitely,” Cano said. “Never change your pitcher.”
• Girardi said he still hasn’t talked to anyone in the league about this weekend’s incident with umpire Bob Davidson. Girardi’s gotten his letter announcing his fine, but that’s it.
• Yankees first-round pick Ty Hensley did a conference call this afternoon and came across as a good kid with a good head on his shoulders. “Yesterday, when I got the call and found out I was going to be a Yankee, I was so fired up and so excited that I got to go to such a great organization,” Hensley said. “Being able to have an opportunity to play in pinstripes one day with a team with so much history. If I could have picked any team to go to, it definitely would have been the Yankees.”
• Hensley left little doubt that he plans to sign. “I’m probably going to sign out of high school,” he said. “My goal is definitely to be there by the time I’m 21 years old, which would have been my junior year in college. I think it’s realistic. I know I have a long ways to go, but I’m definitely not going to stop working until I get there and after that.”
• Hideki Matsui was shaking hands and saying a series of hellos during batting practice. He’s in right field for the Rays today. “We obviously know what he’s capable of doing and how he can carry a club,” Girardi said. “We’ve seen him do that here. In the few at-bats he’s got, you see he’s already got two home runs. You see he’s in there against the lefty, and you hear a lot about Hideki Matsui and lefties. He’s a great player. He’s a great teammate. I loved having the opportunity to manage him, I just don’t want to see him do much these three days.”
Associated Press photos