Rebuilding the bridge
By Jon Lane
Expect Brian Bruney to return on Tuesday, a welcome and much-needed addition to the Yankees bullpen. Since Bruney was disabled, the bridge to Mariano Rivera was a wooden plank weathered by rain and fierce winds. If it’s up to me, and it’s not, here’s how I’d reconstruct the bullpen:
Closer: Rivera (obviously)
Eighth-inning man: Bruney (obviously)
Underbelly: Alfredo Aceves. In case you didn’t notice, he won both games this weekend and deserves to pitch in key spots.
Jonathan Albaladejo. Five 2/3 scoreless innings in last five appearances, fanned Jason Kubel for the third out with the bases loaded to end the seventh on Sunday. Albaladejo earned equity with that effort.
Phil Coke. Forget about the home runs allowed Friday and Saturday, Coke bailed Jose Veras out of a second and third, one out situation in the seventh on Saturday; this in the second of consecutive games coming off a bad back.
David Robertson. When he was here he was relegated to mop-up duty. He deserves a longer look.
Long man: Brett Tomko. A veteran arm that can calm the waters during early blowouts and contribute in big spots.
Out: Edwar Ramirez, Jose Veras
On the Radar: Damaso Marte. The Yankees have no choice with the three years invested in him. To be fair, Marte hasn’t been healthy since the World Baseball Classic, but when he’s back should be relegated to a LOOGY role.
Mark Melancon. A potential successor to Rivera, Melancon’s successes and failures will help him grow.