Here’s Joe Girardi talking about the Joba Chamberlain shift:
Understand this about Joba: He’s a starter. Mariano is signed for three more seasons and Joba is too talented to use in the eighth inning for three seasons. That is a waste of his talent.
Beyond that, the Yankees will likely need at least one starter next season as Andy Pettitte and/or Mike Mussina could retire. They have to get Joba enough innings this season so he can become a full-time starter in 2009.
Based on his having tossed 116 innings last season, Chamberlain will probably be capped around 150 innings this season. That will allow him to get to 180 or 190 in 2009.
Remember, he is only 22 and had injury issues as a junior at Nebraska in 2006. You can’t just flip a switch and expect him to make 33 starts and throw 200 innings. As our friend Will Carroll has pointed out, there needs to a gradual build-up.
The Yankees are handling this the exact right way.