...Including start. Or close. Or hit a batter in the on-deck circle.
Joba Chamberlain thinks he can start. The Yankees clearly think he's better suited to the pen. Given his general lack of time on the field the last two years, you'd figure both sides would be happy if he's just healthy enough to pitch in any role. Still, we saw what Joba the Starter looked like in 2009 and even if the imposition of the Joba Rules 2.0 made that experiment a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure, it does seem pretty clear that his stuff and command didn't play the same way in long appearances that they did in short ones. Still, he told Mark Feinsand he's ready to give it another shot:
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.
Every pitcher's stuff plays up in the pen, but in Chamberlain's case there is reason to think that the spill he took in August 2008, when Ivan Rodriguez's throw to second caused him to go falling out of the way, as well as other subsequent injuries, have diminished him to the point that the bullpen is more a necessity than a choice. It's good to hear Chamberlain still has ambition to be something more than a middle reliever, but until he shows more on the mound than he did at the end of last season-and the second year back from Tommy John surgery is supposed to be the good one-he is really more of a cautionary tale than a future top starter or a closer.