TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Joba Chamberlain is preparing for his role in the New York Yankees’ revamped bullpen.
Chamberlain threw 30 pitches off a mound Wednesday during his first full pre-spring training workout at the team’s minor league complex.
The Yankees say the right-hander, who’s bounced between roles since joining the club in late 2007, will stay a reliever.
“Anywhere from the sixth inning on, I would assume,” Chamberlain said. “I’ve got to embrace it and try to do the best I can to help us win another championship. We’ve got a pretty good bullpen. It’s going to be fun out there with those guys.”
A bullpen that already included ace closer Mariano Rivera and late-inning men David Robertson and Boone Logan added Rafael Soriano and Pedro Feliciano in the offseason.
Chamberlain lost a competition for the fifth starter spot at spring training last year to Phil Hughes, one season after going 9-6 in 32 games, including 31 starts.
In 73 relief appearances in 2010, Chamberlain was 3-4 with three saves and a 4.40 ERA.
“I learned a lot about pitching,” Chamberlain said. “To use things in certain counts and to your advantage. How to approach hitters. That was one of the things coming up as a young kid that I really didn’t pay much attention to.”
With the retirement of Andy Pettitte and the Yankees’ rotation lacking depth, Chamberlain is not surprised that speculation about him getting another starting opportunity has resurfaced.
“I don’t know if that debate is ever going to stop,” Chamberlain said. “I guess you take it with a grain of salt. If that comes up in the future, then I’ll answer that question. Right now you can’t think about it.”
“I’m young, but I wasn’t born yesterday,” Chamberlain added. “I kind of assumed that would be the case. Some people think it’s good, some people don’t. Everybody is going to have their opinion.”
Notes: Chamberlain worked out during the offseason at a gym he put in his house. … Starting C Russell Martin took part in defensive drills for the first time since surgery in December to repair a tear in his right knee. He also did running and agility work. … C Francisco Cervelli spent two months this winter working out with teammate Robinson Cano in the Dominican Republic.
Will the Joba debate ever end? Give your thoughts in the comments.