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Robertson thrilled, relieved after debut

Robertson thrilled, relieved after debut

NEW YORK -- Yankees reliever David Robertson's Major League debut on Sunday was not in a mop-up role, nor was it in a meaningless situation.

No, the 23-year-old entered Sunday's Subway Series finale at Shea Stadium in the sixth inning with the Yankees down, 2-1. The first batter he faced -- Mets pitcher Oliver Perez, who was brushed back by a pitch -- worked him for nine pitches before eventually striking out. Robertson, called up on Saturday from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, eventually allowed one run -- on a sacrifice fly -- and four hits in two innings in the Yankees' 3-1 loss.

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It was a monumental experience that went by so fast for Robertson.

"I just got through it," Robertson said, "and when it was done, it just kind of flew by for me. I'm not going to lie."

Robertson was called up after notching a combined 1.39 ERA for Double-A Trenton and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season, striking out 74 hitters in 51 2/3 innings.

Robertson surrendered two singles in the sixth and seventh innings, in addition to David Wright's sac fly in the sixth that scored Jose Reyes, who moved to third after a wild pitch on Robertson's first offering to Wright.

Typically armed with an effective curveball, it wasn't on against the Mets. In the seventh, the righty threw more curves that were "closer to the strike zone -- I'm not saying they were strikes," Robertson said.

"I didn't really get on top of any. I wasn't making a lot of great pitches today. It didn't happen to be my best stuff today."

In the seventh, Mets catcher Brian Schneider hit into an inning-ending double play with runners on first and second, a positive sign to Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

"It's impressive to me when young kids that don't have a lot of experience, even in the Minor Leagues, can come in and throw strikes," Girardi said. "Oliver Perez put a tough at-bat on him, but he kept throwing strikes. He got in a situation with first and second and gets the double play.

"So I was impressed by what he did today."

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who's recently shuffled relievers in and out of the big league roster -- reliever-turned-starter Dan Giese went back to the bullpen, with Sidney Ponson staying in the rotation -- said Robertson was enduring a "growing process."

"He's obviously getting some looks to see how long he belongs here," Cashman said.

Anyone could have told Robertson that New York isn't Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but he finally saw the difference and felt his heartbeat accelerate when he was told to warm up.

"It's a little different," Robertson said. "There's a few more fans in the stands. It's a lot louder.

"There were definitely a few butterflies, a little bit of adrenaline going. I'm just glad it didn't end too bad."

And Robertson discovered that it wasn't until after he had pitched and the game was decided that his nerves had settled -- for the most part.

In jeans and a T-shirt, wiping his forehead with a plush towel after his last interview, Robertson said: "Now I can relax. I'm all sweaty."

Willie Bans is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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