Joba Chamberlain pitched last night, but that won’t stop Joe Girardi from using him today.
“He’s no different than any other guy,” Girardi said. “He’s available to me.”
Chamberlain has pitched four times since coming off the disabled list. He’s allowed at least one earned run in three of those four appearances, and he’s allowed a total of nine hits in his 4.1 innings. His velocity has been pretty good — consistently around 96 mph ever since that debut — and Girardi’s been happy with Chamberlain’s progress.
“I think he’s doing OK,” Girardi said. “A lot of times they talk about (with) Tommy John, the last thing that comes back is your command. I think he needs to get innings under his belt. He hasn’t pitched a lot in the last 14, 15 months. I think he needs innings under his belt. I’ve seen improvement every time. I think his stuff has been a little bit more consistent. His slider has been more consistent every time. And I think he’ll get better as time goes on.”
Question is: Does Girardi try to get Chamberlain used to high-pressure situations again, or does he simply look for opportunities to get him innings? Right now, aside from David Phelps, Chamberlain is the most stretched out Yankees reliever.
“Kind of both,” Girardi said. “Just depending on what we need that day. It’s that time of year.”
• The plan all along was for Curtis Granderson to sit yesterday’s game and for Ichiro Suzuki to sit today. Girardi didn’t change that plan just because Ichiro had five RBI last night. “We just kind of stuck with it,” Girardi said.
• Plan is for Robinson Cano to get a DH day tomorrow. That means all three everyday infielder will have started at DH once this series. Jayson Nix will likely make three starts at three different positions.
• Is Girardi willing to use Phelps in back-to-back games? “I’ve thought about it,” Girardi said. “I’ve tried to stay away from it just because he has been a starter his whole career.”
• Ivan Nova makes today’s start having worked to improve his slider. The Yankees think that’s the key to getting him out of this slump. “He’s had some struggles with his slider and command of his fastball, and that’s important for him to get back,” Girardi said. “As I’ve said, if he struggles today, he’s going back out there in five days anyway, but I would love to get him back on track.”
• Omar Vizquel is on the bench for the Blue Jays after starting at third base last night. “It’s amazing what he’s done,” Girardi said. “To me he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer. There’s no doubt about it in my mind.”
• The Yankees had a late report time today. The most excitement in the clubhouse centered on watching Olympic wrestling on the television between Ichiro and Jeter’s lockers. Otherwise, it was a pretty quiet morning here.
Associated Press photos