Joe: No idea who my closer is

NEW YORK -- No Mariano Rivera. No David Robertson.

And for one day, anyway, no Shawn Kelley.

So who exactly is available to pitch the ninth inning for the Yankees on Tuesday afternoon against the Orioles?

"That's a great question," manager Joe Girardi said Tuesday morning.

Dellin Betances

Dellin Betances

#68 RP
New York Yankees

2014 STATS

  • GM2
  • W0

  • L0

  • BB2

  • K2

  • ERA0.00

It's a question he wasn't willing to answer, a question that might not even have a definite answer.

A week into the season, without a blown save or even a run allowed in the ninth, the Yankees are going into a game without anyone who could remotely be considered a closer.

Rivera, of course, retired. Robertson, the anointed successor, is on the disabled list with a left groin strain. Kelley, who earned his first career save in Monday's home opener, is considered unavailable because he has pitched two days in a row and warmed up in the games before that.

Which leaves ...

"We'll see where [the Orioles] are in the lineup," Girardi said.

It's unlikely Girardi would use Adam Warren, because he has pitched the past two days and Girardi doesn't like using relievers three straight days this early in a season. David Phelps has pitched twice in the past three days, and Girardi prefers not to use relievers three times in four days.

That leaves Dellin Betances, a rookie right-hander who had trouble throwing strikes his previous time out, and Matt Thornton, a veteran left-hander who has 23 career saves but doesn't have a great history closing games. And after Thornton pitched Monday, Girardi said he wasn't sure how much he'd be able to get from him Tuesday.

It's not a closer crisis, not when the Yankees still haven't lost a game in the ninth inning this season. But it's not exactly ideal.

CABRAL GETS THE CALL: The Yankees called up 25-year-old left-hander Cesar Cabral to take Robertson's roster spot, giving them three lefties in the bullpen (with Thornton and Vidal Nuno), in a week where they'll face the Orioles (with Chris Davis and Nick Markakis) and the Red Sox (with David Ortiz, Grady Sizemore and A.J. Pierzynski).

Cabral impressed the Yankees with 10 scoreless appearances in spring training, but he lost out to Nuno for the final spot in the Opening Day bullpen. Cabral made eight appearances for the Yankees last September, with a 2.45 ERA.