Morning notes: The Closer throws

TAMPA, Fla. -- David Robertson, the new Yankees closer, will throw a bullpen session this morning on the second day of workouts for pitchers and catchers.

The is new because the former closer, a fellow by the name of Mariano Rivera, rarely picked up a baseball before March.

David Robertson

David Robertson

#30 RP
New York Yankees

2013 STATS

  • GM70
  • W5

  • L1

  • BB18

  • K77

  • ERA2.04

But this is the beginning of a new era for the Yankees' bullpen, and Robertson, who has distinguished himself as a setup man but is a veritable novice as a closer, has a long way to go before he earns any of the perks that went with being Mariano. Those included a light spring training workload -- generally eight innings or less -- a long time between bullpen sessions, sometimes as much as a week, and no spring training bus rides. It was a running joke that the Yankees didn't even provide Mo with gray pants during the spring because he wouldn't be making any road trips.

Robertson, on the other hand, expects to go through his normal spring training routine, which probably means bullpens every three days, appearances in every other game, and yes, road trips. And it should comfort Yankees fans to know that in the offseason, Mariano has assumed a mentor-like role with his expected successor.

"I spoke to him once at the [Baseball Writers] dinner in January and basically he just made fun of me the whole time, like he always does," Robertson said. "First thing he said to me was, 'You nervous?' But that's just Mo, he's been on my case, but in a good way, for the last couple of years. I’m sure that he’ll have plenty of advice for me after a I blow one."

Mo -- out of Robertson's earshot, of course -- has said he believes Robertson is ready to step into his role.

"That means a lot," Robertson said. "I’ve spent a lot of time with Mariano and I think he knows what I’m capable of and he’s always told me what I’m capable of. I think I have the abilities to be the closer. It’s not proven yet. But I know in my heart I can do it, I just have to go out there and prove it to myself."

The process begins today.

ManBan on the bump: Lefty prospect Manny Banuelos, coming off Tommy John surgery but considered a candidate to earn a spot in the bullpen, will throw today, as will Shawn Kelley, a possible successor to Robertson as the setup man, and Cesar Cabral, another left-hander who could wind up as the second lefty out of the pen with a good spring. No Michael Pineda throwing session yet.

Hit the road: A day after he mentioned -- twice in the course of a 10-minute interview -- how difficult it was for him to get through a one-mile jog on Saturday, Masahiro Tanaka was seen lacing up a pair of running shoes and heading out to the field to work on his long-distance chops.

And you are?: A funny scene ensued at the security gate to The Boss this morning when an athletic-looking young man, burdened down with a backpack and duffel bag, asked the guards for directions to the clubhouse. The guard, thinking the man was just another of the dozens of photographers who have descended on Tampa, asked to see identification.

Turns out the guy was Brendan Ryan, who stands to see a good amount of time at shortstop this season.