Joba Chamberlain had to go the clean-shaven route in seven years with the Yankees. But he’s a Tiger now and he has let his face go furry. Very furry. Like what a big beard.
“I guess when you’re just told to shave every day for so long, you just say ‘forget it’ after a while,” Chamberlain said.
His new look and his act has gone over well with his new team. Chamberlain has been an effective eighth-inning setup man for Detroit. The 28-year-old righty arrived at Yankee Stadium Monday for his first game back as the owner of an AL-high 22 holds. The Tigers, who signed him on a one-year deal, didn’t use him in the 2-1 loss. So his ERA sits at 3.02, and he has a 1-4 record and two saves in 49 appearances.
“It’s played itself out pretty well,” Chamberlain said of his bridge-to-the-ninth-inning work.
Chamberlain said he didn’t know where the visiting clubhouse was here.
“It’s definitely weird being on the other side,” he said.
Before the game, he came over behind the batting cage to say hi to some of those on the other side, including Derek Jeter, a player he loved being around and respected so much.
“It’s no disrespect to anybody on my own team,” Chamberlain said, “but no one ever beats Derek Jeter.”
There were those initial phenom days of 2007 and a lot of down days and injury-plagued days here as well. There were those famous Joba Rules. But Chamberlain doesn’t seem to have any regrets.
“New York will always be special in my heart,” he said. “… They gave me an opportunity to play this game. They’ve seen me grow up and they’ve seen my son grow up.”
Here’s my story on the latest Yankees happenings with Masahiro Tanaka and David Phelps and on the series-opening  victory.
Photo by The Associated Press.