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.
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.”