In what will be the last meaningless game of the season for the Yankees, manager Joe Girardi told reporters yesterday that he will want to get Joba Chamberlain into the game in a relief role to help him determine whether or not to include him on the post season roster. Mark Feinsand has the story:
“We’ll see how quickly he warms up, how he is in a short stint,” Girardi said. “Everything that you would want to know if we were going to bring him in for an inning.”
The decision to use Chamberlain in relief today was a change of course for Girardi, who earlier in the week ruled out the idea after the righthander threw 91 pitches on Wednesday night.
“He feels good right now,” said Girardi, who discussed the situation over the past few days with team trainers, general manager Brian Cashman and pitching coach Dave Eiland. “I’ll wait to see how he feels (today). He’s in that mix, so it’s something we’re going to take a look at.”
As usual, Girardi nailed it. The biggest question is to see how he warms up and how he looks early on. In many of his starts this year he has started out slowly, throwing in the low 90s and building velocity as the game progressed. Now we will get to see if he can come out guns blazing as he did in his rookie season.
Joba weighed in on the situation as well:
Chamberlain appeared to be in agreement with the decision, noting that his previous experience as a reliever will help him with his pregame preparations even after working the entire season as a starter.
“It’s not something new, so I have a plan on what I need to do to get ready because I’ve done it before,” Chamberlain said. “That’s the advantage I have. I’ll come to the ballpark and have the idea that I’m probably going to pitch in the game.”
This appearance should answer many questions about Joba Chamberlain. The nagging question on his missing velocity, whether last year’s shoulder tendinitis left him a diminished pitcher. But the upside is huge. If Joba returns to 07 form, the Yankees will without question have the best bullpen in all of Baseball heading into the playoffs, and be a prohibitive favorite to win the World Series.
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