Yanks shut down reliever Robertson

Updated: September 8, 2009, 8:00 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Yankees reliever David Robertson was shut down Tuesday because of stiffness in his right elbow, and will not pitch again until he's examined by noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.

Robertson has been a key member of New York's bullpen, going 2-1 with one save and a 3.29 ERA in 42 games. He said he's felt the problem for two weeks, and had an MRI exam Monday.

"I don't feel like there's anything seriously wrong," he said after coming off the field before the game against Tampa Bay. "I feel confident it's not going to be anything."

Robertson is throwing pain-free and there hadn't been a drop in his velocity. He said his elbow tended to stiffen up the day after he pitched, and the Yankees haven't been using him on consecutive days.

Robertson has struck out 54 in 36 1/3 innings since being promoted from Triple-A in late May, working mostly in the late innings. A boosted bullpen has been a big reason the Yankees have the best record in the majors.

"We're not sure we're losing David," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

"The unusual thing is how well he's pitched" despite the trouble," he said. "We've all seen how he's pitched. He's been unbelievable. He's been lights out."

The Yankees were still in the process of setting up the appointment with Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. Robertson pitched in college at Alabama.

Even without Robertson, the Yankees have plenty of relievers that can get the ball to closer Mariano Rivera, with Alfredo Aceves (10-1) and hard-throwing Phil Hughes among them.

There's always a chance, too, that Joba Chamberlain could return to the bullpen for the playoffs. The Yankees have been cautious to avoid overusing him, and Girardi pointed out there might be a need for only three starting pitchers in a potential best of three first-round matchup.

"I'll just leave it at that," Girardi said.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press