Bruney 'happy' to be back with Yanks
Reliever returns to club after recovering from right foot injury
NEW YORK -- Never mind that much has happened with the Yankees -- the trades, the record, the losing and winning streaks -- since Brian Bruney got injured April 23 and went on the disabled list.
The reliever, who was called up Friday, was thrown off.
"Wow, they got a water cooler over there?" Bruney said.
Yes, they do. And now New York has a pitcher who helped in the beginning of the season feels fine after he was put on the 60-day disabled list in late April following a torn ligament in his right foot.
The return took longer than he wanted, Bruney said, but Yankee Stadium --- not PNC Field, where Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre plays -- is where he feels he belongs.
"I'm not trying to dog it or anything, but when you have an ultimate goal of being here and you feel like you're ready and you're there the whole time, it grinds on you," Bruney said. "I'm very happy to be here."
Earlier in his rehabilitation, Bruney taped the foot, but that felt too constrictive. He wasn't able to push off his right leg as much, so he stopped taping it. It's the type of move Bruney would make, as the 26-year-old was determined to come back.
"If I go out there and get hurt again, I won't have any regrets," he said.
Bruney had a 3.68 ERA in 7 1/3 innings over seven appearances with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, including one start. Before the injury, Bruney had a 1.59 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. His original diagnosis gave a September return at the earliest.
Reliever Chris Britton, who was called up Thursday, when he pitched 3 2/3 innings following a recovery from his own injury, was sent down.
"We talked about needing the arm, because we used Brit last night and you don't want to fry your bullpen," manager Joe Girardi said. "But Brian's time was almost up, and he was so good for us before he got hurt and we want him back.
"His stuff was very good, his slider was outstanding, his changeup was good," Girardi added. "And he was throwing hard. So he was a big part of our bullpen before that dreaded day in Chicago."
Bruney slipped and fell while attempting to cover first base in the seventh inning of a Yankees victory over the White Sox on April 23. The injury affected the top of Bruney's push-off foot. It is more commonly known as a football injury, though former Yankees first baseman John Olerud missed the 2004 playoffs with a Lisfranc injury.
After injuring the Lisfranc joint of his right foot, Bruney opted out of season-ending surgery and rehabilitated mostly in Tampa Bay, Fla.
Bruney's velocity, Girardi said, is close to where it was before the injury. Bruney said pitching in a Major League setting might help him dial it up a notch.
"I want to see him here in this setting as opposed to pitching down there," Girardi said. "Sometimes the setting here's a little bit different and I'm anxious to see if we can get him back to where he was."
Willie Bans is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.