Joba Chamberlain has not started a game for the New York Yankees since 2009. However, the pitcher feels that he could help the team if he was put into the rotation.
"This is probably going to spark a bunch of stuff and (Yankees PR director Jason) Zillo is going to be mad at me,” said Chamberlain, at Spring Training. “But it’s one of those things where it’s like, do you think you have the capability to start? Yes. Do I have four pitches that I can throw for a strike? Yes. Do I have two plus pitches in the bullpen that I can throw at any time? Yes.”
For the first few years of his career, there was much controversy surrounding the way the Yankees handled Chamberlain. The right-hander was promoted to the Majors in 2007, and was dominant as a reliever. New York then decided to turn Chamberlain into a starter, where he didn’t experience much success.
General manager Brian Cashman and the Yankees organization came under fire for the decision to change the pitcher’s role. Chamberlain was put under a strict pitch count for much of his starts, registering a 3.91 ERA in the rotation.
Despite Chamberlain’s confidence in his abilities, he has accepted his role as a middle reliever this season.
"I guess I’m trying to have my cake and eat it, too. I feel like I’m good enough to do both. I’ve proven that I can do both. Whatever it is, if I close, I want to be one or the other. I’ve been in the role of in the bullpen for a while, but am I confident that if I got the chance to start again somewhere – wherever that’s at – I could do it? Without a doubt. I just have to focus on this year and what I can do to improve to help this team win, continue to try to win ballgames for them.”
It’s highly unlikely that Chamberlain will start a game for the Yankees in 2013. With C.C. Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes in the rotation, New York has four starters in place. Ivan Nova and David Phelps will battle for the fifth and final spot.
Chamberlain struggled last season in just less than 21 innings. He pitched to a 4.35 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP.