In his morning media fest Tuesday, conducted amid torrential rains and your customary Florida tornado watch, Joe Girardi seemed to welcome the conversation shifting from the uncomfortable and unappetizing “Who’s in left?” debate to the one area of this 2013 Yankee ballclub that poses no concerns and only great promise for the Yankee skipper.
That would be the bullpen, where Girardi’s already-designated eighth- and seventh-inning guys, David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain, made one-inning scoreless spring debuts against the Phillies, while Mariano Rivera continued his leisurely pace toward cranking up his 43-year-old arm for what may or may not be his final season. In Robertson’s opinion, there’s no way Old Mo is walking away — “he loves it too much” — but that might just be deflective talk from the man whom Girardi has already intimated is the logical candidate to replace the closing legend.

He said it again Tuesday when the bullpen talk, as it inevitably does, got around to the topic of Mo’s eventual successor.
“It’s unfair to talk about the ‘next Mariano,’ to compare anyone to him,” Girardi said, before adding that Robertson — despite those two very shaky closer opportunities last May right after Rivera blew out his knee shagging flies in Kansas City, in which he blew one save and loaded the bases in the second — has the proper makeup and “strikeout stuff” to be the man. In Girardi’s opinion, Robertson just “tried too hard” in those two save situations before going on the disabled list with an oblique injury and relinquishing the job to Rafael Soriano.


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