Reworked bullpen nails it down
There hardly were any guarantees for the Yankees when closer David Robertson went on the disabled list. A pair of unproven guys -- Shawn Kelley and Adam Warren -- got pushed into more significant roles in the bullpen.
So far, though, manager Joe Girardi can't complain.
"I think they've done a very good job in his absence,'' he said. "Sometimes when you lose someone and people are asked to do more than they're used to, sometimes it takes them a little time to adjust, but they've adjusted very quickly.''
Kelley got his second save and Warren pitched a perfect eighth inning Saturday in a 7-4 win over the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Kelley bounced back from a bad outing Wednesday night, when he entered a tie game against the Orioles, allowed two runs and took the loss.
"Any time you feel like you're the reason the game didn't go your way, it hurts,'' Kelley said. "Any time you do that, you want to get back out there and get on the right side of things. It was huge.''
Robertson, Mariano Rivera's successor, felt discomfort in his groin last Sunday against the Blue Jays and was placed on the disabled list a day later with a Grade 1 strain. Although he said he doesn't believe he'll miss more than the required 15 days, it's hard to know for sure with an injury like that.
"We're just trying to hold it together until he gets back,'' Warren said. "He's a big part of our bullpen, so we're just trying to step up a little bit and take care of it when he's gone. And when he comes back, we'll be even stronger for it.''
Warren, 26, a converted starter, is off to a great start. He has given up no runs and two hits in six innings, striking out seven.
"I'm definitely getting more comfortable every time out there, and the big thing for me right now is the confidence is growing and just the belief in myself that I can get the big outs,'' he said.
The bullpen as a whole gave up only one hit after Hiroki Kuroda left the game with one out in the seventh inning. Matt Thornton and Dellin Betances got the Yankees out of the seventh and Warren and Kelley did the rest.
"It's a big responsibility,'' Kelley said, "but I'll continue to go out there and do my job and pitch when they ask me to.''