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Robertson's 'day after' look hints that he can handle closing

By Danny Knobler | Baseball Insider
David Robertson says 'I can't wait for my next chance.' (Getty Images)
NEW YORK -- If closing games is all about the day after, David Robertson has the look of a guy who can handle it.

His first blown save as Mariano Rivera's (sort-of) replacement didn't appear to affect him. And that's a good thing.

Now, will it affect the way he pitches?

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We don't know yet, because Yankees manager Joe Girardi chose to hand Thursday night's save opportunity to Rafael Soriano instead. The decision was no sign at all of a change in closers, since Robertson had already pitched two nights in a row and Girardi says he didn't want to use him three straight days.

"[Soriano] has done it before," Girardi explained. "This early in the season, I thought it was kind of risky [with Robertson]."

Robertson said Thursday afternoon that he wanted to pitch, but more significant was the way he said it.

"I blew it [Wednesday], and I can't wait for my next chance," he said calmly, after first chatting about television shows and Twitter with a few reporters.

Robertson, who tweets at @DRob30, even joked that he got more heat from his Twitter followers for spoiling last year's Survivor finale for West Coast viewers than he did for Wednesday's blown save.

He does read what fans tweet back on him, and even went to see what they said Wednesday.

"I expected to be slaughtered tonight on Twitter, but the support y'all have shown reminds me how amazing Yankee fans are," he tweeted in response.

Everything Robertson says and does right now will be watched, because the key for successful closers is the ability to not let blown saves affect them. And you don't need to spend much time around baseball to realize that some guys can handle it, and some can't.

You see some guys who are tried as closers and are fine through a run of successfully converted saves, only to crumble the first time they fail.

"It's not about him being successful, it's about how he bounces after the fall," Rays manager Joe Maddon agreed. "It's more about how he responds afterwards."

Jack Curry of the YES Network posted an interesting reminder Thursday, pointing out that
Rivera blew three of his first six save chances in 1997, his first season as the full-time closer. Obviously, Rivera soon showed he could handle the failures.

Maddon said he strongly believes Robertson can handle it, too, even though he's never spoken to the Yankee reliever.

"He's definitely got the makeup to do it," Maddon said. "You can see he's very aggressive, and you don't see any fear. I watched a little of his postgame comments [Wednesday], and he was very accountable.

"He demonstrated that he has all the right qualities. Beyond that, he has really good stuff."

Robertson showed the right qualities on Thursday, too, seemingly passing another test.

Now he just needs another save opportunity.

As he said, he can't wait.


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