Results tagged ‘ Joba Chamberlain ’
Were you as surprised as I was that we’re talking about Joba Chamberlain, the starting pitcher, again? This is just proof that if you wait long enough, everything eventually comes back into style.
Back in the summer of 2009, I remember working on a feature for MLB.com about The Great Joba Debate. That story included a lengthy phone interview with New York sports personality Mike Francesa, who had filled hours upon hours of air time by banging on his desk and insisting that Joba Chamberlain belonged in the Yankees’ bullpen, not their rotation.
Back then, Chamberlain was in the middle of an ’09 campaign that produced mixed results as a starting pitcher. He’d be moved to the bullpen for the playoffs, as the Yankees took advantage of the postseason schedule and rode to a World Series title with a three-man rotation Chamberlain stayed in the bullpen, never to return.
General manager Brian Cashman later revealed that an Aug. 2008 shoulder injury changed the Yanks’ thinking on Chamberlain, believing he no longer profiled as an effective starting pitcher.
“Since the injury in Texas, his stuff is different now,” Cashman said in January 2011. “We’ve seen over time that his stuff plays so much better as a reliever since he hurt his shoulder … I’ve answered the Joba thing enough. I think everybody knows the answer to that. Joba is in the bullpen, and I think everybody is happy with that.”
Well, maybe not everybody. As Chamberlain said on Tuesday in Clearwater, he wants another crack at starting or closing in the future. As a free agent after this season, he might just get that chance. It’s not unthinkable that a team would sign Chamberlain and bring him to camp to audition as a fifth starter (hey, the Royals gave Kyle Farnsworth a crack at breaking their rotation a few years ago), using the bullpen as a fallback landing spot.
The problem is, for Chamberlain, that team will not be the Yankees. It’s clear how they feel about Chamberlain in the rotation, and with Mariano Rivera and David Robertson ahead on the closing depth chart, Chamberlain wouldn’t figure to see very many save opportunities down the line in pinstripes. Cashman has no interest in reviving The Great Joba Debate, but there are 29 other GMs in the game who might at least consider it.
Kevin Youkilis was clicking around the Internet on Thursday evening when he realized one of his comments was picking up steam. Youkilis raised some eyebrows by saying that he’d “always be a Red Sock” and thought he should seek out the media on Friday at George M. Steinbrenner Field to clarify exactly what he’d meant.
“It hit me hard. I was like, ‘Oh man, I’ve got to watch my mouth here.’” Youkilis said. “I look at what I was saying as more like a baseball card. When you look at it, there are going to be nine seasons (with Boston). That’s why I said that. In the context of what I said, if you read it as just ‘I’m always a Red Sock,’ it looks bad.
“But it’s not that way. I’m a Yankee today, I’m excited, I’m proud to be a Yankee and I’m proud for Opening Day to play against the team that I spent all those seasons with. Trust me, if you know my personality and you know who I am, it doesn’t matter what team it is along the way – I want to beat everyone. I want to beat the Red Sox because I want to start off with a win at Yankee Stadium.”
Youkilis said that the comment was “one of those things you have to take with a grain of salt,” and that he also considers himself a Cincinnati Bearcat and a Chicago White Sock. It’s all part of his history, he said.
“I read a quote in (the clubhouse) that says, ‘There’s no such thing as an ex-Yankee,’” Youkilis said. “I’ll be proud to be a Yankee for life after this year, too.”
- As long as Youkilis was clearing up controversies, he also wanted to issue a progress report on his relationship with Joba Chamberlain. The former rivals shook hands on Friday morning, discussing Chamberlain’s budding new mustache (which has garnered mixed reviews, to put it nicely). Both players said their previous incidents are in the past and Chamberlain said he didn’t feel a need to explain anything to Youkilis.
- On to some actual baseball updates, Michael Pineda threw a bullpen session of 25 fastballs and said he felt good. It’s a light day on the bullpen side here at Yankees camp: Cesar Cabral, Zach Nuding and Matt Tracy also threw sides and Vidal Nuno threw a live batting practice session, but there aren’t too many bold-faced names on the workout list. The catchers in camp will take batting practice and the pitchers will go through fielding drills, but other than that, it could be a quick one for the Yanks.
- Today won’t be the day we get Mariano Rivera’s decision, in case you were wondering.
Joba said he's heard back from Youkilis via text. Hopes that puts story of bad blood between them to bed—
Erik Boland (@eboland11) February 05, 2013
There was never much doubt that Chamberlain and Youkilis were going to put aside their differences and try to play nice as teammates, but at least there’s some confirmation that things are moving in the right direction.
Chamberlain had said that he reached out to Youkilis shortly after the third baseman signed in December, leaving a voice mail that went unreturned for a while.
Other notes passed along on Twitter by Boland and the New York Daily News’ Anthony McCarron as they guard the sidewalk outside the Yankees’ minor league complex (the media is not being allowed on the grounds yet – check out McCarron’s sweet photo):
Michael Pineda threw approximately 25 pitches from a half-mound. It’s his third such session of the spring. … Phil Hughes and Clay Rapada have arrived. David Robertson is also on site. … Derek Jeter worked out again. … Ivan Nova stopped briefly and told reporters he has no doubt he’ll be in the Yankees rotation.
Remember when you were a kid, and you’d hunt through the house for a day or so, looking for something to wrap up for your parents as the holidays approached? “Merry Christmas, Dad, I put a bow on this stapler you already owned.”
Doesn’t it kind of feel that’s how the Yankees’ winter is going?
Brian Cashman’s shopping is continuing to center from within, as the Yankees are engaging the representative for Raul Ibanez, the most clutch bat of their postseason run and another one of their internal free agents.
The New York Post reports that GM Brian Cashman has confirmed the discussions with Ibanez, who would be strictly a DH if he returns — interesting, considering his appeal last year was that unlike candidates like Johnny Damon or Hideki Matsui, the Yankees trusted Ibanez to play the outfield (and, it turned out, had to use him there more than expected).
The Yankees have an all left-handed hitting outfield of Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Ichiro Suzuki, so they need some right-handed balance. Scott Hairston’s name has been floated for weeks, but he’s rather popular on the open market and might command a two-year deal, something the Yankees have seemed reluctant to extend.
- Elsewhere, Joba Chamberlain told MLB Network yesterday that he and Kevin Youkilis are ready to bury the hatchet from their interesting past. Chamberlain left Youkilis a voice mail as the third baseman’s contract with the Yankees was nearing completion.“I’m glad he’s on our side of things,” Chamberlain said. “We’re both grown men, we both like to play the game. We’ll continue to move on. I’m glad he’s in our uniform and hopefully he can hit a few balls to right field over the fence for us and not against me like he’s done before.”
- Nick Swisher’s “Swishapalooza” tour is continuing. The Indians always seemed like a good dark horse candidate to land him — the Yankees’ trip to Cleveland last season felt almost like a homecoming for Swisher. I’d imagine the Ohio State product must have been impressed by the Tribe’s recruiting video, which featured Urban Meyer, Thad Matta and others begging Swish to sing “Hang On Sloopy” with the fans 81 times per year.
Joba Chamberlain was clocked as high as 97 mph during his 1 2/3 innings of work against the Tigers on Monday at Comerica Park, which the Yankees right-hander views as a very positive sign.
“The first one was just getting it out of the way and trying to build from there,” Chamberlain said. “Today was a lot more comfortable; I didn’t really have time to think about it. I just had to get out there and try to make pitches. I think that was the biggest thing. All the emotions are gone and now it’s back to work.”
Chamberlain relieved Ivan Nova in the sixth inning and allowed a run-scoring single to Jhonny Peralta, charged to Nova’s line. He pitched around a Prince Fielder single in the seventh, striking out Brennan Boesch looking to end the inning.
“Everything just felt a little rushed in the first one,” Chamberlain said. “Today just felt more compact, more fluid and I was able to throw everything for a strike. Obviously there’s still stuff we have to continue to work on, but as far as being able to go out and throw any pitch in any count, I felt really good with it.”
Chamberlain’s first appearance came on Aug. 2 at Yankee Stadium, when he allowed two runs in 1 2/3 innings to the Orioles. The Yankees have said that they envision Chamberlain working his way back to the late innings, facing both lefties and righties. He has returned from Tommy John surgery as well as an open dislocation of his right ankle.
“I thought it was a big improvement from the last time,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “I thought he threw the ball a lot better, so that was encouraging.”
Via MLB.com’s Adam Berry in Tampa:
TAMPA, Fla. — Yankees right-hander Joba Chamberlain underwent surgery Thursday night for an open dislocation in his right ankle, general manager Brian Cashman said Friday morning.
Chamberlain, working his way back from Tommy John surgery, was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital on Thursday night and will remain there for “at least a number of days,” Cashman said.
Cashman was not aware of all the details of Chamberlain’s injury but described it as “very significant.” He said it occurred some time Thursday while Chamberlain was out in the Tampa area with his son and believed the incident involved Chamberlain jumping on a trampoline.
Cashman couldn’t say how long the injury will keep Chamberlain off the field. When asked if it was a career-threatening situation, Cashman replied, “I’d like to say no.”
“I feel bad because I know how much he loves this game, and I know how much he was looking forward to coming back ahead of schedule,” Cashman said. “This is just an unfortunate accident that’s clearly derailed that. What more does this mean? I don’t know.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi visited Chamberlain in the hospital Friday morning, and Cashman said he would visit him later Friday, after Chamberlain undergoes and MRI and CT scan.
Financial terms were not disclosed by the club, but CBSSports.com reported that the 26-year-old Chamberlain will earn approximately $1.675 million, while Robertson, 26, receives $1.6 million plus $25,000 in incentives.
New York’s bullpen was one of their biggest strengths in 2011, due in no small part to Robertson’s emergence as an American League All-Star and one of the game’s top setup men. He receives a sizable boost in salary after earning $460,450 in 2011.
Chamberlain earned $1.4 million last year and underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery on June 16. Chamberlain has said that he hopes to break camp with the Yankees in April, but the club is eyeing a more conservative timeline and expects to have Chamberlain back by June or July.
Right-hander Phil Hughes agreed to a deal on Monday worth $3.2 million plus performance bonuses. Tuesday afternoon marks the deadline for teams and eligible players to submit arbitration figures. The remaining Yankees set for arbitration are left-hander Boone Logan, catcher Russell Martin and outfielder Brett Gardner.
It was a busy Wednesday morning in the Bronx, as the Yankees introduced Rafael Soriano to the New York media, a signing that Brian Cashman acknowledged makes the team better but one that he had still vocally opposed because of the contract value and a lost first-round Draft pick.
Then, just for good measure, Cashman acknowledged that he indeed had several discussions about bringing Carl Pavano back to the Yankees, looking for someone to upgrade a rotation that still figures to include both Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre if the season started today.
Pavano signed a two-year deal with the Twins later in the day, but like we said, it was a busy morning. Here are some of the other tidbits that might have been overlooked:
Cashman: “Joba’s in the bullpen, for the 200th time” – a.k.a., The Debate is Over
Joba Chamberlain will be in the bullpen and there is no chance of him starting for the Yankees in 2011, both Cashman and Girardi said.
Here’s Girardi’s explanation: “I think Joba is going to be an important part of our bullpen. For me, I like to shorten the game as much as I can. He has a chance to be an outstanding reliever for us and I think his second half was better than his first half. I think we could really have a close down bullpen where the game gets really short. When you’re called upon to pitch, your inning is just as important. If you give up runs in the sixth, you never get to the eighth. Sometimes in the seventh you might face a tougher part of the order than the eighth.”
Asked if there was some physical reason the Yankees wouldn’t consider starting Chamberlain, Girardi answered, “No, not necessarily. It’s probably hard to bounce back and forth all the time. Then you end up with an innings limitation again. I think it’s really important that you have an awesome bullpen and I think he can be a big part of that. … We just decided at this point that’s where he fits the best and that’s where we’re going to put him.”
Responding to a similar question, Cashman said, “I think we’ve seen over time now that his stuff plays so much better as a reliever than as a starter … As a result of everything leading up to and including last spring.”
A reporter then tried to float the case that Chamberlain’s numbers as a starter compared favorably to what Ivan Nova or Sergio Mitre might provide.
“He’s in the bullpen,” Cashman said.
Did Boston’s big winter push the Soriano deal?
Cashman said he never heard that the Yankees needed to react to Boston’s moves specifically, but Hal Steinbrenner felt that there needed to be an upgrade of some kind for the fan base. The decision went beyond just the baseball operations department, he added.
“I think [Steinbrenner] just felt we needed to do something, regardless,” Cashman said. “That’s how it was conveyed; ‘We’re not going to go into Spring Training without us doing something big.’ And this is big.”
Will Soriano fit in the clubhouse? Sure, Girardi says
There have been whispers that Soriano has had trouble with previous managers, including being upset with coming into non-save situations and being asked to pitch more than one inning. You would think that will be different with Mariano Rivera in New York.
Girardi said that reputation won’t be a problem, as he wants to “give everyone a clean slate” and tries to get to know each of his players as much as possible.
Are the Yankees a better team today?
Girardi figures the ’11 team is better than the one that walked off the field after Game 6 of the 2010 ALCS. “I think we’ve added to our bullpen, added another left-hander (in Pedro Feliciano), and I think we’re a better club because we’ve been through it,” he said.
More pitching on the way?
There has been buzz on the Hot Stove about the Yankees potentially showing interest in the Tigers’ Armando Galarraga – he of the imperfect Jim Joyce game – who was designated for assignment. He’s easily one of the more appealing options out there, given the marketplace.
Regarding another possible upgrade to the rotation, Cashman said: “I hope so. The starter might have to come from within. Hopefully we have some of these young kids answer the bell for us. In the meantime, we’ll still keep our eyes and ears open to the remaining market, which is very limited.”
He added: “It’s a difficult market to choose from. Listen, if you’re still on the board, there’s a reason for it.”
Captain leading off
As of this moment, Girardi says he has Derek Jeter penciled in to be the Yankees’ leadoff hitter. Hitting coach Kevin Long has said that he’d like to use Spring Training to experiment with different combinations.
Some additional notes from today’s event in Washington Heights, where the Yankees moved 19-year-old right-hander Leonel Vinas from “Hank’s Yanks” to the Gulf Coast League Yanks, and Brian Cashman said once again that they’re preparing for ’11 without Andy Pettitte:
- A.J. Burnett knows his rebound is important. He’s remodeled a barn at his Maryland home into an indoor pitching facility and is expecting new pitching coach Larry Rothschild to drop by for about a week next month. Cashman said:
“We need A.J. to come back to his previous form, there’s no doubt about it. I believe he will, but we need that to happen, too. We signed A.J. not to pitch toward the back of the rotation, to be a front of the rotation starter. That’s what his abilities are, that’s what he’s capable of doing. That’s what we expect. I believe you’ll see that again, but that means a lot of hard work. I know he’s up for it. I’ve talked to A.J. several times now and met with him in person in Maryland. He knows the responsibility he has to us and this fan base. He’s committed.”
- Joba Chamberlain will be in the bullpen for 2011 and the future. Cashman told a reporter to “bite your tongue” when it was suggested that Chamberlain might be called in to fix the rotation problems, and later explained:
“His stuff plays so much more significantly out of the ‘pen. We’ve given him the opportunity to show what he can do out of the rotation, and the velocity dropped. It’s just not the same stuff.”
- Food for thought: Even if Pettitte says he’s done pitching before the Yankees get to Spring Training, it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility that he could “unretire” – hey, Roger Clemens did it – if the Yankees rotation cries out for him. The GM wouldn’t shoot down the suggestion outright, saying, “I don’t want to speculate on stuff like that. I guess we’ll see where we’re sitting in May.”
- The Yankees were never close on a deal with Kerry Wood, who wound up taking much less than everyone expected to go back to the Chicago Cubs. Here’s Cashman one more time:
“We never got close because, in talking to his agents, it was going to cost $5.5 million a year or more on a multi-year basis. We weren’t interested in that level. But they said that it was what it was going to take. When we saw he signed with the Cubs at $1.5 million, I called right away and said, ‘Hey, what’s going on here?’ They said the Yankee price was the Yankee price; no different than the Red Sox price or the White Sox price. The bottom line is, he moved his family from Phoenix to Chicago and he’s going to be a Cub for life now. This had a lot to do with non-baseball related stuff, too. I can understand that.”
- Alex Rodriguez saw Dr. Marc Philippon after the season and was given a clean bill of health on his right hip. The Yankees expect no problems with him being ready for the spring.
Joe Girardi said before Monday’s game that he would “probably lean toward” using Joba Chamberlain if presented with a tight spot in the eighth inning, but when that situation came up, Girardi steered away from Chamberlain and called on Dave Robertson and Boone Logan to help lock down the Indians lineup.