Yankees bring back Scott Proctor

NEW YORK -- Scott Proctor is back.

The New York Yankees have signed Proctor to a minor-league contract, general manager Brian Cashman confirmed to ESPN NewYork.com.

The 34-year-old right-handed reliever pitched for the Yankees from 2004 to 2007 before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 31, 2007, for utility infielder Wilson Betemit.

Proctor appeared in 31 games out of the bullpen for the Atlanta Braves this season, going 2-3 with a 6.44 ERA in 29 1/3 innings.

He was one of former manager Joe Torre's most trusted relievers back in 2006, when he threw 102 1/3 innings and compiled a 3.52 ERA in 83 games.

Torre also turned to Proctor plenty in 2007 before he was traded. In 54 1/3 innings (54 games), Proctor was 2-5 with a 3.81 ERA.

Proctor had a strong season for Los Angeles in 2008, but ever since he's pitched to a 6.23 ERA in 78 games with the Dodgers and Braves.

It was Cashman who criticized Torre earlier this season for overusing Proctor in 2006 and ruining him.

"I met with Proctor and said, 'You better stop telling the manager this because the way he manages ... he wants an honest answer,'" Cashman said earlier this season, adding "there was no hypocrisy here."

Cashman said it was the Torre's responsibility to make the decision and hinted that Torre put too much stock in his player's self-assessment.

"I'm not paying the pitcher to be the pitching coach, for instance, or the manager," Cashman said. "We're paying the manger to be the manager and I'm paying the pitching coach to be the pitching coach."

Cashman said overuse was not an issue with Girardi because "we have new people here that utilize people a certain way now."

Cashman added: "You can't put your assets in jeopardy. You can overuse them or you lose them."

Mike Mazzeo is a frequent contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.