David Robertson to Be Activated from DL: Which Yankees Player Should Be Demoted?

Ely SussmanCorrespondent IJune 14, 2012

Anthony Gruppuso/US Presswire
Anthony Gruppuso/US Presswire

Healed from a strained oblique, setup man extraordinaire David Robertson will be activated from the 15-day disabled list on Friday (per NY Daily News). New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi must open up a roster spot to accommodate him, but who's the odd man out?

The skipper is approaching this decision reluctantly. The Yanks are thriving, winners of six straight games, 10-of-12 in June and 16-of-20 since May 22. And he's left with no alternative but to demote a player who has contributed to that recent success.

Expect a current member of the bullpen to be sent packing—perhaps a less accomplished reliever like Cody Eppley or David Phelps.

The 26-year-old Eppley made only 10 MLB appearances prior to this season, but Girardi evidently believes in his abilities. He has been used exclusively in the eighth inning this month. Eppley recorded two holds against the Atlanta Braves and has a 3.29 ERA through 13.2 innings pitched in 2012.

Phelps, on the other hand, hasn't worked much lately. He's the long man and emergency starter for the Yankees. Because the rotation continues to evade injuries and turn in lengthy and effective outings, Phelps hasn't seen action since June 2! Nonetheless, he fills a valuable role.

Management could go another route and ax an underwhelming veteran.

Clay Rapada, for example, struggles to throw strikes (13 BB in 18 IP). Though his left-handedness is an asset, New York has a second capable southpaw in Boone Logan. Then again, it's difficult to be critical of a guy who last surrendered a base hit two weeks ago.

Freddy Garcia is nearly five years Rapada's senior. He has regressed dramatically since helping the Yankees to a 2011 AL East title, and owns a 7.66 ERA and 1.74 WHIP. His contract expires after the World Series.

Unfortunately, Garcia is unattractive trade bait due to his age and the approximately $2.5 million he's due through season's end. That salary also deters the club from designating him for assignment because he would go unclaimed by the other 29 teams, resulting in a release. So, the Yankees would have to pay him anyway. He's signed to a major league deal, and therefore, cannot be sent down to the minors without consent.

Banishing him from the organization might come off as insensitive. Garcia returned to his native Venezuela on June 7 to mourn the passing of his grandfather (via NY Times). The two were incredibly close. Garcia rejoined the team on Sunday (per ESPN New York).

I do not envy Joe Girardi and the tough choice he needs to make prior to this weekend's matchup with the Washington Nationals.

Readers—who do you think will be removed from the 25-man roster?