With so much frustration surrounding last night’s game, it’s easy to let something positive fall through the cracks. There was something of that nature last night for the Yanks, and his name is Damaso Marte. After retiring the only two batters he faced Friday, he came in to record the last out of the seventh and then retired the Rangers in the eighth. He did this with aplomb, striking out two batters in those 1.1 innings while issuing just one walk — a strategic one of the four-pitch variety, putting the dangerous Michael Young on in favor of Josh Hamilton, whom Marte fooled with a breaking ball for strike three.
The Red Sox just picked up Billy Wagner to help strengthen their bullpen. The Yanks have added Marte. On their best days, Marte isn’t at Wagner’s level, but their recent injuries might level the playing field a bit. Wagner, after all, is just 11 months out from Tommy John surgery and was concerned about his potential workload in Boston. Marte is also coming off injury, though of a less defined nature. He’s battled shoulder inflammation most of the year, but by all accounts the ailment wasn’t serious enough to consider surgery.
It’s tough to pin too many hopes on Marte. We’ve only see him throw two innings, but those two innings were pretty impressive. His fastball has been working, hitting 93 much of the time, though last night he did drop down to about 91 for a few pitches (on Friday he threw 93 most of the time) and his breaking stuff seems just fine. By all early appearances, Marte might be the guy the Yanks hoped he was when they signed him to a three-year, $12 million contract this off-season.