When Mariano Rivera and David Robertson landed on the disabled list last month, the Yankees knew someone was going to have to step up to help fill the huge void in the bullpen.
Rafael Soriano, Boone Logan and Cory Wade figured to move up in the pecking order, but nobody expected Cody Eppley to play as big a role as he has in recent weeks.
Eppley, a 26-year-old right-hander claimed off waivers from the Rangers at the end of spring training, has already been shuttled back and forth from Class AAA to the big leagues three times, but given his recent performance, he may have done enough to stick around for a while.
"You never know where it's going to come from when you start a season," manager Joe Girardi said. "You just don't. You don't know how far you're going to have to reach into your minor leagues to get help, and the depth that you need."
Eppley pitched a scoreless eighth inning Wednesday, protecting a 3-2 lead against the Braves. The right-hander put runners at the corners with one out, but Eppley got Martin Prado to ground into a double play, handing the lead to Soriano for the save.
"I was just trying to go out there and take each batter, just go from one to another, just get one out and go from there," Eppley said. "I just tried to take it slow, give myself a little bit to think about what pitch I want to make each pitch, and just do my job, and hopefully get a ground ball there."
With Robertson activated from the DL on Thursday, Eppley will likely find himself out of that eighth-inning mix in the immediate future. However, the outs he recorded Wednesday will help him the next time he finds himself in trouble, regardless of what inning it is.
"Every outing gets me a little more comfortable with this team and try to figure out a role for me in the bullpen," Eppley said.