David Robertson won't rest on his laurels

David Robertson, a Yankee All-Star pitcher, talks to Farmingdale High School students about how he became a Yankee and the value of education. Videojournalist: James Carbone (Nov. 17, 2011)

With David Robertson coming off a season that ranks among the best any Yankees reliever has ever had, you'd think job security would be the last thing driving him this offseason.

Not so.

"It's baseball. There's always someone else who wants to come up and play," Robertson said Thursday night at the Chateau Briand in Carle Place, where he and his wife, Erin, were honored at Winning Beyond Winning's annual Gil Hodges Legacy Dinner.

"It's the big leagues, it's the New York Yankees. I don't want to get beat and not do well because I'm not prepared. I'm going to train as hard as I can. I'm going to hold my ground and try to keep my spot."

Speaking earlier in the day to a group of Farmingdale High School students -- including members of the school's S.A.D.D. organization, which also was recognized at the dinner -- Robertson said he typically works out about 2½ hours every day in the offseason and will again. "I don't want anyone to take my job," Robertson told the students.

The 26-year-old, who thrived as Mariano Rivera's setup man after injuries to Rafael Soriano and Joba Chamberlain, should be just fine.

He is eligible for salary arbitration and appears to be due a substantial raise after going 4-0 with a 1.08 ERA in a team-high 70 relief appearances and holding the opposition scoreless in 63 of them. Only Atlanta's Eric O'Flaherty (0.98) had a lower ERA among relievers.

Not much indicates room for improvement, but Robertson, who led all AL relievers with 100 strikeouts (in 662/3 innings) and limited the opposition to a .170 average, sees it differently.

"I had some good numbers, but, to be honest, I feel I can do better," he said. "I'm always wanting to do better. It drives her [Erin] nuts because I'm a perfectionist. No matter if I'm fishing or whatever, I feel I can do better than what I'm doing. I can always work harder."

The couple put in plenty of work off the field during the 2011 season, the result of tragic events in David's hometown of Tuscaloosa, Ala. After watching the coverage of the deadly tornado that devastated the city last April -- and later making a trip to see the damage -- he and his wife established the David and Erin Robertson Foundation (highsocksforhope.com).

Robertson donated $100 per strikeout for the charity, which helps those impacted by the tornado. Outside donations continue to come in, with the total recently surpassing $200,000, Erin said.

The Robertsons were honored at the Gil Hodges Legacy Dinner for their work with High Socks For Hope and received a surprise donation from Winning Beyond Winning during the event.

"The biggest thing for us is just how many people go online and just send us a check," Erin said. "They just wanted to help out and not want any credit for it . . . It's been really successful and it's all thanks to, mostly, New York fans. It's been really great."

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