David Robertson

Phillies reliever David Robertson blasts cheating Houston Astros

Phillies reliever David Robertson blasts cheating Houston Astros

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Add David Robertson’s name to the list of pitchers who believe they were victimized by the Houston Astros’ cheating scheme in 2017.

“It’s a disgrace what they’ve done and they’re going to have to live with it and everyone knows,” Robertson said on Wednesday.

Robertson enjoyed a brilliant stretch drive for the New York Yankees in 2017. After being traded from the Chicago White Sox, he pitched in 30 games for the Yankees and allowed just four runs.

In the first two rounds of the playoffs that year, he pitched eight innings and allowed just one run.

His dominance that season ended suddenly in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series against the Astros. He entered with the Yankees down, 3-1, in the bottom of the eighth inning and was torched for four runs while failing to retire any of the four batters he faced. Jose Altuve greeted Robertson with a home run, Carlos Correa doubled, Yuli Gurriel singled and Alex Bregman stroked a two-run double. Houston rolled to a 7-1 win to tie the series and won it the next night. The Astros then beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.

Two years later, it was revealed that the Astros used an illicit, technology-based sign-stealing scheme to cheat their way to the championship.

Details of the scheme cleared up a few things in Robertson’s mind.

“I got roughed up in Game 6,” he said. “And I felt like in that game I threw as well as I’ve ever thrown in my entire life. I had some pitches that got hit that I was a little shocked by and some pitches that didn’t get swung at that I was a little shocked by. At the time, I wasn’t thinking about what we know now. But it all comes together now and, you know, I’m upset about it, that’s for sure.

“I’m never going to get 2017 back. I can’t say moving forward I’ll never get to pitch in a LCS again, but I’ll never get that season back with that group of guys and that opportunity to win a World Series.

“Like I said, I’m still upset about it. I don’t want to say something I’m going to regret but I’m definitely not happy about it.”

Robertson signed with the Phillies before the 2019 season and is currently working his way back from elbow surgery. He is expected to pitch in the second half of the season.

During his time with the Yankees, Robertson was a teammate of Carlos Beltran. Beltran played in Houston in 2017 and was one of the ringleaders of the cheating scheme. It cost him his job as manager of the New York Mets last month.

Robertson said he was surprised by Beltran’s involvement.

“I always respected him as a player, especially being a veteran player on our team when I got a chance to play with him in New York,” Robertson said. “I enjoyed the way he played and the way he went about his business. He’s got to live with it.”

Robertson was asked whether he believed the Astros’ 2017 title was tainted.

“Tough to say,” he said. “I don’t have all the facts. I don’t know which games and what times, I just know that one game I was in, I was really good and I got roughed up pretty hard. We lost every game down there and we won every game in New York. So … that being said, those are the facts I know.”

Robertson lockers just a few feet away from Francisco Liriano in the Phillies’ spring clubhouse. Liriano joined the 2017 Astros in a late-season trade with Toronto. He has heard the talk about the legitimacy of the World Series ring he won with the Astros.

“To be honest, I didn’t know anything about what was going on,” Liriano said. “So, you know, I don’t have much to say about it. I was in the bullpen. I didn’t see anything going on when I was there. I don’t have much to say about it.

“We had some great players, too. It’s just hard for me to say. Because you don’t want to be the team that was cheating to win the World Series. It’s hard for me to say what my feelings are. It’s hard. It’s hard.”

Robertson has not watched any video of the beating he took in Game 6 of the ALCS.

“I don’t want to relive it,” he said.

“I’m upset about it but I’m not going to let it ruin my life. I’m moving forward and trying to win another World Series with the Philadelphia Phillies.”

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Roman Quinn sidelined again, high-priced David Robertson out for next season

Roman Quinn sidelined again, high-priced David Robertson out for next season

The injured list is Roman Quinn’s unfortunate home away from home. And now, the 26-year-old outfielder is back there for the third time this season.

Quinn suffered a strained right groin muscle in the ninth inning of Friday night’s game at Citizens Bank Park. It is a similar injury to the one that forced him to spend a month on the IL earlier this season, though not as severe.

The injury comes at a time when Quinn’s exciting talents seemed to be coming together. He was hitting .368 with a 1.139 OPS in 13 games in August. He had a double, a triple, three homers and was 4 for 4 in stolen base attempts.

There is probably enough time left in the season for Quinn to make it back, but it’s safe to say he’ll miss at least a couple of weeks and that's a loss to the Phillies' lineup.

Injuries have been a huge and frustrating issue for the likable switch-hitter who was the Phillies’ second-round draft pick in 2011 out of the Florida panhandle town of Port St. Joe.

Quinn has missed significant time in his minor- and major-league career with a torn quadriceps, a torn Achilles tendon, a strained elbow ligament, a torn ligament in his middle finger, a concussion and a broken toe. He missed the start of this season while recovering from an oblique strain suffered in spring training then went down with a groin injury in May.

With Quinn out, the Phillies will likely turn to Adam Haseley more often in center field.

The Phillies filled Quinn’s roster spot by adding reliever Jared Hughes. He was picked up off waivers from Cincinnati earlier in the week.

There was more injury news Saturday. As expected, Jake Arrieta will have season-ending surgery to clean up a bone spur in his elbow (see story). The surgery will happen before the end of the month and he’ll have plenty of time to get ready for spring training. Arrieta is under contract for $20 million next season.

David Robertson will not be ready for spring training. In fact, he probably will not pitch next season. The team said he had Tommy John surgery on Thursday. That typically requires a recovery of at least 14 months. 

Robertson, 34, signed a two-year, $23 million deal with the Phillies in December. He ended up pitching just 6 2/3 innings over seven appearances before landing on the IL with a sore elbow in April.

The Phillies have sunk some serious money into veteran relievers and gotten little in return because of injuries. Pat Neshek, 38, signed a two-year, $16.25 million contract before the 2018 season. He pitched in just 30 games last season and 20 this season. He has only pitched once since May 23 and likely will not pitch again for the Phillies. Tommy Hunter, 33, signed a two-year, $19 million deal before the 2018 season. He pitched in 65 games last season but just five this season because of an elbow injury that required surgery.

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David Robertson's career in jeopardy as he faces season-ending surgery

David Robertson's career in jeopardy as he faces season-ending surgery

David Robertson’s season is over.

His career could be over.

The right-handed reliever, one of the acquisitions that gave the Phillies optimism over the winter, revealed on Wednesday that he needs surgery to repair an elbow injury. Robertson is 34 and has carried a heavy load over his career. There is no timetable for his recovery. He’s not even certain he’ll pitch again.

“Obviously, I've had those thoughts,” he said. “It's tough for me to deal with that.”

Robertson will know more about his chances of recovery after he gets a second opinion, likely from orthopedist James Andrews. Robertson was diagnosed with an injury to his flexor tendon in April. He recently had a setback that included additional damage to his ulna collateral ligament, according to Phillies doctors. He is hopeful that the injury is limited to his flexor tendon, but knows Tommy John surgery is a possibility, as well. Flexor tendon surgery would require six to eight months of rehab. Tommy John surgery can be a year or more.

“I’m hoping it’s just the flexor,” he said. “If I can get everything repaired as soon as possible and get myself in rehab as soon as possible, I think I can make it back and still be a part of this organization and pitch next year.”

Robertson, a workhorse who pitched in at least 60 games nine times for the Yankees and White Sox, signed a two-year, $23 million contract with the Phillies in December. He pitched in just seven games for the Phillies before going on the IL.

The Phillies have not gotten good results from high-priced veteran relief pitchers. Pat Neshek, who signed a two-year, $16.25 million deal before the 2018 season, missed significant time last season and again this season and team officials are not optimistic he will pitch again this season. Tommy Hunter, who signed a two-year, $18 million deal before last season, pitched in 65 games last year but just five this season. He is slated to have elbow surgery in the coming weeks.

Robertson, Neshek and Hunter were supposed to be a triumvirate of bullpen effectiveness for the Phillies.

Instead, they are collectively just one of a number of things that have gone wrong for the team in 2019.

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