It was back to school on Wednesday for David Robertson. High school.
The closest Cubs got their first MLB serve in the ninth inning of Chicago’s 14-5 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The 37-year-old had played nearly 700 appearances without picking up a piece of lumber in a major league game. For MLB.com:
“[Manager David Ross and I] we talked about it before the position player came into play, “said Robertson.” If the DH was high and I came in, he could beat me for the DH. So we talked about it. I just didn’t think it was going to happen. We had to do everything the order to get me up there. And then I blew it up. I ruined everything! “
Robertson, who pitched a goalless eighth inning to lower his ERA to 1.75, should have beaten the eighth in the ninth inning. The Pirates, down 10-1, sent second baseman Diego Castillo to the mound for mopping-up duty and the Cubs quickly scored four points, taking Robertson to the pot with two outs. For the Chicago Tribune:
Robertson borrowed Christopher Morel’s mace and Yan Gomes’ helmet. Someone offered him some batting gloves, but he refused. He thought it wouldn’t matter because Robertson’s approach was simple: swing hard and hit the ball.
“I wasn’t really thinking about anything else,” Robertson said. “It looked like the mound was very close.”
Robertson fell behind, 1-2, but struggled to make the full count before falling swinging over a 50 mph field.
But he left the batter’s box smiling, saying to his bench, “I wasn’t going to swing. … It was easy to tell when it would be a ball or a strike when it was 40 mph, but I wouldn’t walk. I was about to swing. I had to try. I don’t know if I’ll ever get another chance, so I’m glad I did. “
According to MLB.com, “Entering Wednesday, Robertson’s 695 career games were the fourth most of all players without a pot appearance, behind only Buddy Groom (786), Joakim Soria (773) and Bryan Shaw ( 722). The last time he made his appearance he was in high school. “
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Robertson is enjoying a comeback season for the Cubs, leading the club with eight saves and making it a popular name on the commercial market as the August 2 deadline approaches.
The Cubs signed Robertson in March on a one-year deal. He joined the Tampa Bay Rays last season after a successful run at the Tokyo Olympics, helping Team USA win the silver medal. Roberson made 12 appearances with the Rays, compiling an ERA of 4.50 and proving he recovered from Tommy John’s surgery that cost him most of 2019 and all of 2020.
Robertson began his MLB career in 2008, pitching out of the bullpen and helping the New York Yankees win the 2009 World Series.
He left as a free agent after the 2014 season, signing a $ 46 million four-year deal with the Chicago White Sox. But the Yankees bought back Robertson before the non-waiver contract expired in 2017 as part of the deal that brought rescuer Tommy Kahnle and third baseman Todd Frazier to the Bronx.
After the 2018 season, Robertson signed a two-year $ 23 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies but only pitched in seven games before sustaining an arm injury. He skipped the entire 2020 season as he was recovering from Tommy John’s surgery.
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