When New York Yankees' manager Joe Girardi opted to bring in Shawn Kelley in the ninth inning of a 4-2 ballgame Monday at Yankee Stadium, many were surprised that it wasn't David Robertson who got the call.
It didn't seem completely out of the ordinary considering this would have been the fourth time in five days that Robertson had pitched.
Is this deja vu? It is too soon to tell, and while it is unlikely that someone will take his place as closer for the whole season, it wouldn't be something we haven't seen with Robertson before.
When Mariano Rivera went down for the entire 2012 season, Robertson was elected the closer for the remainder of that season. However, when he was injured, setup man Rafael Soriano was named closer, and he thrived in the role for New York.
Unfortunately for Robertson, he didn't regain the role of closer until this season, as Rivera had retired after last season and Soriano signed with the Washington Nationals as their closer after the 2012 season.
As of now, the Yankees do not have a reliable replacement for Robertson in the long run, so they will hope that his groin heals quickly.
In three appearances this season, Robertson has thrown 3.0 innings while allowing only one hit and earning two saves.
In 2013 the Yankees were derailed by injuries to multiple key players, and in 2014 they have already had to place Gold Glove first baseman Mark Teixeira and Robertson on the 15-day disabled list.
While Girardi has proven that he has a knack for managing his bullpen very well, the Yankees cannot afford to have Robertson unhealthy for a majority of the season.
The Yankees are playing well as of late, winning three out of their last four games, but if they want to send captain Derek Jeter out on a high note in 2014, they will need stability in the back end of their bullpen. Without Robertson, that may not happen.
Still, it is too early to tell how serious the injury is, and for now Girardi will have to be more careful in piecing together his bullpen on a daily basis.
*Statistics Courtesy of Baseball Reference
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