Commentary

Moseley makes most of first chance

Called up Friday, ex-Angel stakes claim to role in Yanks' maligned bullpen Saturday

Updated: July 3, 2010, 7:21 PM ET
By Ian Begley | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Joba Chamberlain couldn't hold a one-run lead in the eighth Friday. Chan Ho Park has been up and down (mostly down) all season. David Robertson isn't the David Robertson of 2009 and Alfredo Aceves is still weeks away from returning to the Bronx.

With plenty of questions surrounding the New York Yankees' bullpen, righty Dustin Moseley stated his case for a consistent role in the inconsistent 'pen Saturday. Moseley, making his first big league appearance in 15 months, pitched two scoreless innings in the Yankees' 11-3 trouncing of Toronto.

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"What he did was great today," manager Joe Girardi said of Moseley, a former first-round draft pick who was called up Friday from Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre. "The ground balls, the strikes, the efficiency. ... Really, really outstanding. Hopefully he can play an important role for us."

The Yankees -- thanks to an 11-run, 37-minute third inning -- had an eight-run lead when Moseley entered for Andy Pettitte in the seventh.

But the scoreboard did little to calm Moseley's nerves.

"Your first time out, you're a little more anxious. There's a little more nerves involved," he said.

The 6-foot-4, 215-pound righty settled down quickly, sandwiching an Edwin Encarnacion strikeout between groundouts from Lyle Overbay and John McDonald in a 1-2-3 seventh.

Moseley opened the eighth with a strikeout of Nick Green and then induced groundouts from Alex Gonzalez and Jose Bautista -- both of whom homered earlier in the game -- to end the inning.

He struck out both Green and Encarnacion with crippling curves and threw 12 of his 15 pitches for strikes.

"It couldn't have worked out better for me," Moseley said. "Especially you're first [appearance]. ... I look back at it and I've put in a lot of hard work."

Saturday was the first time Moseley set foot on a big league mound since an April 17 start for the Angels. He left that start in Minnesota after just three innings because of elbow tightness, which was later diagnosed as a strained forearm. He suffered a pinched nerve in his neck during rehabilitation.

Just as he was trying to make it back to Anaheim last June, he felt soreness in his hip. An MRI revealed that he had torn the left labrum and needed surgery. He went under the knife in August.

"There have been a lot of things that have tested me," said Moseley, who has pitched in parts of five seasons and started 23 games since 2006. "Perseverance and hard work has gotten me back here."

The Yankees signed Moseley to a minor league contract Feb. 16. He proved he was healthy in Triple-A, going 4-4 with a 4.21 ERA in 12 starts. Because of a clause in Moseley's contract, the Yankees on Thursday were forced to choose between calling Moseley up to the Bronx or letting him hit the open market as a free agent.

Moseley said that he would have had other suitors if the Yanks hadn't called him up. But, with Chamberlain struggling, Park a non-factor and Aceves and Sergio Mitre rehabbing injuries, what choice did Brian Cashman have?

"They happened to make the right move, in my mind, because I really wanted to be here," said Moseley, who was selected in the first round of the 2000 draft (34th overall) by the Reds. "This couldn't have worked out better."

Ian Begley is a contributor to ESPNNewYork.com

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