Apr 26th 2008 1:30PM by Josh Alper
One of the big questions that followed Hank Steinbrenner’s outburst about moving Joba Chamberlain to the starting rotation was who would pick up the slack in the eighth inning? The Yankee bullpen struggled to get the ball to Mariano Rivera last season, necessitating Chamberlain’s ascension, and didn’t add a reliever well-suited to high-leverage situations in the offseason.
Brian Bruney was emerging as a potential answer to that question in the early going this season. Always a hard thrower, Bruney was in good shape and appeared to have improved command after years of frustrating walks in big spots. He hurt his foot covering first earlier this week, though, and on Friday doctors confirmed he’s got a Lisfranc injury which needs surgery.
“It goes all the way back to like 1793, that procedure,” Manager Joe Girardi said. “Back then, they amputated.”
While he’ll likely keep his foot, Bruney won’t be back until September at the earliest and could miss the entire season. That means the Yankees are back to square one when it comes to replacing Chamberlain in the bullpen. The in-house choices are pretty sickly.
They’ve tried and been burnt by Kyle Farnsworth a million times, LaTroy Hawkins has a 10.09 career ERA at Yankee Stadium and Billy Traber’s a lefty specialist. Taking into account the loss of Chamberlain while he goes to AAA to prepare as a starter, it’s impossible to see how the Yankees could manage without the rookie in the bullpen.