ST. PETERSBURG -- The bullpen phone kept ringing down the left-field line Monday at Tropicana Field, but no matter what, Yankees manager Joe Girardi had steeled himself not to call for Joba Chamberlain or Dave Robertson.
"I didn't have everyone available today," Girardi said. "I used the people that were available. You go from there."
That was why, in the 10th inning of a scoreless game, Chad Gaudin was on the mound with no activity in the Yankees' bullpen, his responsibility alone to get the ball to the next frame.
Gaudin did escape a bases-loaded jam, striking out Brad Hawpe, but Sergio Mitre didn't fare as well. Pitching for just the second time since Aug. 27, Mitre served up the game-winning homer to Reid Brignac as the Yankees fell to the Rays, 1-0.
Robertson had pitched back-to-back days at Texas on Friday and Saturday, but Chamberlain had not pitched since Friday. Chamberlain said the Yankees have talked to him about approaching 65 games this season, believing he needs a break.
"It was one of those things where you've got to listen to your body at this time of year, especially with guys throwing the baseball that well," Chamberlain said. "There's a lot of guys to pick each other up. They said they're just trying to get an extra day to get everything feeling great, and go from there."
Chamberlain and Robertson are both expected to be available Tuesday; Girardi said the only member of his bullpen who wouldn't be ready is Gaudin. Chamberlain said he knew before the game he wasn't pitching Monday.
Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland said that his bullpen has been carrying a heavy workload the last couple of weeks.
"This was a big game obviously that you want to
win, but it wasn't do-or-die," Eiland said. "Sometimes you lose a battle to win the war. We're going to have all
our big guns so to speak tomorrow. We're still OK. We're going to be fine."
Girardi also said that he would have only used Mariano Rivera in a save situation Monday, having used him for two scoreless innings on Saturday. Eiland refuted the suggestion that the Yankees could view the American League Wild Card as a fall-back position, allowing them not to tax their bullpen.
"We want to win the division. We want best record," Eiland said. "We want home-field [advantage], so we're not even thinking or considering the Wild Card. The Wild Card is kind of a consolation prize. We're not into that."