Yankees

Yankees’ GM On Joba: ‘He’s Heavier, I’ll Leave It At That’

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New York Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain, center, runs with teammates on the first day of pitchers and catchers at spring training baseball, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011, at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

New York Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain, center, runs with teammates on the first day of pitchers and catchers at spring training baseball, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011, at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Brian Cashman wouldn’t weigh in on Joba Chamberlain’s appearance.

The New York Yankees reliever reported for spring training visibly larger than last year. Cashman wouldn’t give a direct answer when asked whether Chamberlain is in shape.

“He’s heavier, I’ll leave it at that,” the general manager said Wednesday. “He works hard. He’s a good kid. He’s heavy.”

RELATED: Sweeny Says: Joba Chamberlain — A Heavy Topic

Chamberlain worked out during the offseason in a gym at his house and feels he’s in better shape than the past couple years.

“I feel great. I’m stronger physically and better in my bullpens,” Chamberlain said. “Everybody is going to say weight, but scales are scales. I’m getting to know my body better. I’m to the point now where I feel comfortable enough to know what I need to do.”

Chamberlain and Davd Robertson, who both had bullpen sessions, are battling for a late-inning role leading to eighth-inning man Rafael Soriano and closer Mariano Rivera.

“Joba went through all the drills fine,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He’s had no issues. Weight can be a tricky issue, sometimes, because you’re evaluated on how you pitch. A lot of times if you’re not pitching well, they’ll say you’re too heavy. If you’re pitching well, no one says a word.”

Cashman declined to say whether Chamberlain arrived at camp above the team-suggested weight.

“What I’m concerned about is his performance,” Girardi said. “Obviously, you want guys to be in the best shape they can be, but we’ll make those calls as we move along. The bottom line is, he is going to be judged on how he pitches. Some guys can carry more weight and be successful.”

Chamberlain, who lost a competition for the fifth starter spot to Phil Hughes during spring training last year, went 3-4 with a 4.40 ERA in 73 relief appearances.

“I thought he had a better year than his numbers indicated,” Cashman said. “I know he’s throwing good bullpens. I think we’ll have a tremendous bullpen. He’s one of the reasons for it.”

The bullpen also includes left-handers Pedro Feliciano and Boone Logan.

“Whoever is throwing the ball the best will get the ball the most,” Cashman said.

Also, outfielder Andruw Jones stopped by the clubhouse, two days after his $2 million, one-year contract was finalized. The 33-year-old will be a right-handed-hitting backup in right and left. He made an impact against New York in his rookie season, homering twice for Atlanta at Yankee Stadium in the 1996 World Series opener.

“When I was driving in, I was thinking like, ‘Wow,’ my manager is the catcher that I played against. That kind of makes me feel really old,” a smiling Jones said. “It’s been a long time. Good memories.”

Jones hit .230 with 19 homers and 48 RBIs in 107 games last season with the Chicago White Sox. He has experienced some swelling in his left knee during early workouts but said it’s no big deal.

“I’m just happy to be here,” Jones said. “I think we’ve got a great team. Expectations are high over here, always.”

NOTES: Rivera missed the second day of workouts for pitchers and catchers to be with his sick children. He could report on Thursday. … Non-roster invitee, LHP Neal Cotts was released. … Cashman said 18-year old minor league C Gary Sanchez underwent heart tests, which showed no problems. Sanchez had been told to stop early workouts at the team’s minor league complex earlier this month after not feeling well. “He’s fine,” Cashman said.

Does Joba need to shed a few pounds? Sound off in the comments below!

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

pixy Yankees GM On Joba: Hes Heavier, Ill Leave It At That
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