Joe Girardi didn’t have the numbers in front of him — and he met with the media literally a minute or two after the game had ended — so he wasn’t sure what Joba Chamberlain’s velocity was this afternoon, but he said that this spring the Yankees have clocked Chamberlain throwing harder than at this time the past two years.
“I think it has to do with how he’s breaking his hands,” Girardi said. “He can speed up his arm.”
Chamberlain has reverted back to old mechanics, moving his hands lower. It’s a small tweak, but it’s also something that worked in the past. Chamberlain credited the increased velocity, at least partially, to a different set of old habits.
“I felt like my first year when my velocity was good and everything like that, it was because I really never stopped playing catch,” he said. “I wanted to take that and use that to see if it helped. As far as velocity-wise and feel on the mound, I think it’s a night-and-day difference to the previous two or three years I think.”
Chamberlain started throwing a lot earlier this offseason, and he tried to throw quite a bit more.
“I think I’m doing everything I can to get back to where I was,” he said.
• Russell Martin will DH again tomorrow, and he’s scheduled to catch on Friday. He’ll be wearing a very light knee brace that he labeled a precaution. He wore it today and said it’s light and doesn’t bother him. “Until it’s completely 100 percent, it will be like a safety net for me,” Martin said.
• Jesus Montero will be the starting catcher tomorrow.
• One more catching note, Girardi said it will be at least two days before Cervelli plays in another game, no matter what the final results of the MRI indicate. For whatever it’s worth, Cervelli was optimistic when he left the stadium. “I think it’s nothing bad,” he said. “A couple of days and that’s it.”
• Mariano Rivera will throw batting practice next week. Rafael Soriano is a few days ahead of Rivera, but he has also not thrown to hitters yet.
• Greg Golson will play tomorrow. He went through batting practice with no problems, but Girardi decided to give him on more day. “He could have played today,” Girardi said.
• Sergio Mitre pitched only one inning, but that was planned. He’s had lest rest between appearances than the other rotation candidates, so he’s had two shorter outings. He’ll go deeper into the game when he starts on Monday.
• During batting practice, Jorge Posada went through more defensive drills at first base, fielding throws from shortstop.
• The Yankees reserves had an eventful top of the seventh: Jordan Parraz made an error in right field, Brandon Laird threw a ball away at third base and Melky Mesa made a strong but offline throw home where catcher Austin Romine got a glove on the ball but didn’t catch it. All of that led to four unearned runs off David Phelps, who had pitched a scoreless sixth.
• The Yankees won on Martin’s bases-loaded walk off Lance Pendleton, the former Yankees minor leaguer in Astros camp as a Rule 5 pick. Pendleton wasn’t supposed to pitch today, but was summoned after Douglas Arguello allowed four hits and two walks and couldn’t pitch around Houston’s own defensive mistakes. It was a 6-5 Yankees win, their second of the spring.
• Hector Noesi got the win with two scoreless innings. Boone Logan allowed the first Houston run in the fifth inning.
• Jordan Maxwell was 1-for-1 with a walk and a stolen base. During that ninth-inning rally, Dan Brewer, Austin Romine, Melky Mesa and Eduardo Nunez each had base hits, Kevin Russo and Martin drew walks, and Jordan Parraz reached on an error. Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira had hits earlier in the game.
Associated Press photos of Chamberlain, Jeter and Cervelli. The Chamberlain photo is from earlier this spring. Didn’t see one from today’s game.