There is quite a lot of talk lately about David Robertson and his recent elbow issues.
Will he be on the postseason roster? How is he feeling regarding his prior elbow pain? How will his elbow be if he has to throw two days in a row?
Answers are: Yes, doesn't matter, and doesn't matter.
Why doesn't it matter if Robertson is healthy? Because, if D-Rob is still effective while pitching hurt, then he needs to be part of the postseason roster and to pitch in those situations which demand his presence.
The idea in the postseason is to win each game played and to win a championship without worrying about the next day, next season, or the 2011 season.
Win a title with Robertson in 2009 and worry about other things later. But, it may be a moot point.
Robertson threw Tuesday night, recording two outs (one by whiff), a walk, and was limited to 20 pitches. He reported no pain in his elbow and is ready for the playoffs. Manager Joe Girardi is likely to use Robertson Friday night in Tampa, unless CC is in line for win No. 20, then it will be CC for seven, Phil, and Mo. Robertson will probably then pitch another day over the weekend, to see if he is still healthy.
Finally getting regular work in pressure situation this season, D-Rob (or K-Rob) is showing everyone why the Yankees gave him big money to sign out of college early. As I mentioned back in February 2008, Robertson was going to be a big part of the Yankees bullpen.
Although he had a robust 5.34 ERA in 2008, D-Rob was 4-0 last season. A quick look to his splits from 2008 showed he thrived in pressure situations, but gave up most of his runs in games with a four or more run differential, including allowing all three home runs.
In other words, Robertson pitched well when it was tight and did not pitch well when the game was mostly decided. That is backed up by his 4-0 record.
Given more of an opportunity this season, D-Rob supported Girardi's decisions to use him in bigger spots. He has tremendous strikeout rates, averaging 13.4 K's per 9 innings.
And D-Rob pitched well in early September while he was pitching through his elbow pain. According to all reports, Robertson did not have pain WHILE he was pitching, but experienced the discomfort the following day. There is a big difference between discomfort and pain.
And in his last four appearances before being shut down, D-Rob threw 3.1 innings, allowing three hits, no runs, one walk while striking out six. All four appearance were Yankee wins and D-Rob was credited with that great stat of a "HOLD" in each game.
He was successful while feeling his elbow soreness. He did it before and could do it again.
Robertson is too important to the success of the Yankees in the 2009 playoffs to be excluded from the postseason roster. He has the ability to get a key strikeout with men on base and can provide up to two innings per appearance, especially if the Yankees choose the longer series, which allows for more off days.
It may not matter if Robertson pitches this weekend and says he is healthy. Or he could just be lying to make the team.
Either way, the Yankees need him this postseason.