Joba, Phil begin airing it out
That was Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes climbing into the bullpen six-pack on Thursday, each throwing 30 fastballs and changeups as they get ready for the competition to be the Yankees’ fifth starter.
And while each one of those pitches met a catcher’s glove under the watchful eye of Joe Girardi and Dave Eiland, you didn’t need to take mental notes from that session. It’s much too early to begin handicapping a race that hasn’t yet begun.
“The ball was coming out of their hands well, and that was encouraging,” Girardi said.
As for Girardi’s presence behind both pitchers, that also shouldn’t have racked the nerves of either right-hander. After all, they both did pitch in the World Series last year, when there were slightly more eyes fixed upon their actions.
There’s still more than a month to figure it all out, but Chamberlain said that he “feels good at this point” and Hughes agreed that everything “feels right about on pace.”
Really, all a guy can do with this session today is prove he can throw a fastball for strikes and pitch inside to a phantom hitter. It makes it pretty hard to read. We could use one of those wooden stand-in batters that Charlie Sheen decapitated in Major League as a reference tool.
Hughes joked that there should be a meter somewhere, with an arrow pointing to the winning player’s name, kind of like a popularity contest. So who’s winning on Feb. 19? Call it even for now.
“I don’t think any jobs are awarded on your bullpens or your BPs,” Hughes said.
- Nick Swisher made another appearance in the clubhouse today – seems like you just can’t keep him away, even though position players don’t have to get to George M. Steinbrenner Field until next week. Swisher says he’s 12 pounds lighter and Girardi believes he can be more productive than he was in ’09, though he was “pretty good” as the right fielder.
- We haven’t talked too much about the bullpen yet, but Girardi did acknowledge today that in a perfect world, he’d like to have two left-handed pitchers to create more options. Of course, there’s right-handers who can get lefties out like Dave Robertson, but Boone Logan will get a serious look during camp. Girardi said that Logan was acquired with the idea that he could do “big things” for the Yankees.
- Guest instructor Yogi Berra arrived today, and I didn’t see his golf clubs on Girardi’s couch. I thought for sure that they’d be safely stored in the building somewhere, but it turns out that Yogi’s saving his strength for the summer. That’ll give him more time to watch BP from behind the batting cage, we guess.