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Klentak on David Robertson: ‘It’s becoming less and less encouraging’


David Robertson hasn’t pitched since April. (Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

A few weeks ago, the idea of Philadelphia Phillies reliever David Robertson returning from an elbow injury to the bullpen on or around July 30 was floated. It’s July 30. Robertson hasn’t even made a rehab appearance yet. And if you read between the lines, there seems to be a growing sense of pessimism that he will return at all in 2019.

General manager Matt Klentak discussed a variety of topics Monday night, most notably the Phillies pickup of LHP Jason Vargas. He also issued an update on Robertson’s attempt to return to the mound in 2019, one that didn’t have an overly optimistic tone.

“With each passing day, it’s becoming less and less encouraging,” Klentak said Monday to the collective media, including Meghan Montemurro of The Athletic.

The Phillies inked Robertson, 34, to a two-year/$23 million contract in January. Over the past decade, there’s a case to be made that Robertson – while pitching for the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox – has been as reliable as any reliever in baseball. The hope in signing him was he would bring stability to the bullpen, whether it was as a set-up man or closer.

Instead, Robertson has made just seven appearances in 2019, and has a 5.40 ERA to show for said appearances. Most notably, Robertson walked in the winning run in a 9-8 loss to the Washington Nationals on April 3, leading to him saying he had “been sucking out there.” 

The most recent appearance that Robertson made came in Miami on April 14, when the Phillies defeated the Marlins 3-1 in 14 innings. The appearance was perplexing, because Robertson actually pitched two scoreless innings, striking out two and not allowing a hit. At the very least, that will turn out to be Robertson’s last appearance until August, which would have been hard to predict at the time.

In addition to Robertson, the Phillies bullpen has been decimated by injuries in 2019. Tommy Hunter didn’t make his season debut until late June, and only made five appearances before having season-ending surgery on his flexor tendon. Pat Neshek is currently on the injured list for the second time this season, this time with a left hamstring injury. Victor Arano, one of the team’s best relievers in 2018, had his elbow scoped in late May, and there’s no indication he’ll return this season. Seranthony Dominguez is also on the 60-day injured list along with the quartet, with an elbow injury having sidelined him since June 5. Edubray Ramos is on the 10-day injured list with a shoulder injury as well.

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