Last night, via Newsday‘s Ken Davidoff, we learned from Yankees manager, Joe Girardi, that the final spot in the club’s 2010 starting rotation will be decided by a five-man contest this spring, one that features Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Alfredo Aceves, Chad Gaudin, and Sergio Mitre. Still, given practical concerns (i.e., Hughes’ innings limit and Chamberlain’s lack thereof) as well as the important matter of a recent starting track record, it appears as though Joba Chamberlain will be in the lead for that role, at least initially, with Phil Hughes serving as the Nebraskan’s foremost competition. Chamberlain, however, does not appear to be overly concerned by the situation.
According to the NY Post‘s Mike Puma, Chamberlain, who will report to Tampa next week in order to effectively prepare for the upcoming season, will be training as a starter, because “[t]eam brass has told him to have that mindset.” When asked about the spring competition, Chamberlain stated, “I’m going to go in and understand a lot of guys are fighting for that spot. Nothing is guaranteed.” This is, of course, exactly why the Yankees have promoted the fifth spot in the team’s rotation as an up-for-grabs affair, one that will ultimately be awarded to the most effective arm in Spring Training (although I don’t think anyone truly believes that the competition is totally “open”). Chamberlain, who spent the majority of the 2009 season as a starter – he was more frustrating than brilliant – is headed to Tampa weeks in advance in order to prepare for the season and seems eager to prove himself. If you ask me, it looks as though the competition idea is already beginning to pay dividends for the Yankees.
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