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Girardi will not identify closer when Robertson returns

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The Associated Press
5/23/2012 7:21:56 PM
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NEW YORK -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi will not commit to using David Robertson as his closer when the right-hander returns from a ribcage injury.

He might just stick with Rafael Soriano. The former Tampa Bay Rays closer is 3 for 3 in save chances since Mariano Rivera tore a knee ligament while shagging fly balls on May 3.

"He's closing games for me," Girardi said. "He is my closer. When there is tough situation, a closing situation, I've been bringing Rafael Soriano in."

Soriano had an AL-leading 45 saves for the Rays in 2010 before signing a $35 million, three-year contract with New York. Injuries and poor performance early last season left Soriano relegated to a seventh-inning role behind Robertson, who became an All-Star setup man in just his second full season in the majors.

Robertson began 2012 as the primary eighth-inning reliever and did not give up a run until his 14th appearance -- and second as Rivera's replacement as closer.

In that game on May 9, Robertson allowed four runs to blow a 1-0 lead. Soriano closed out the Yankees' win the next night because Robertson had pitched on back-to-back days. Robertson then got the final two outs in a non-save situation on May 11 and has not pitched since. Filling in for Rivera, Robertson is 1 for 2 in save opportunities.

Robertson will soon go to the Yankees' complex in Tampa to begin rehabbing his oblique injury.

Girardi would not say what will happen when Robertson returns.

"Here is my prayer, let's get Robbie back where he is feeling comfortable," Girardi said. "Let's get him in a game before we start making any official decisions."

But Girardi does like that Soriano has experience and is capable of pitching several days in a row.

"Obviously, he has a track record as a closer," Girardi said. "He's been very successful. And I expect him to do that here, too."

Joe Girardi  (Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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