Joba Chamberlain can’t win the fifth spot in the rotation today, but he could probably lose it. Of the five contenders for the job, Joba’s thrown the fewest innings in spring training (three and two-thirds) but allowed the most walks (six). He’s got the highest ERA (27.00) and the fewest strikeouts (two). To quote Dave Eiland: “I know he gets a lot of play and a lot of talk [Editor’s Note: Guilty as charged.], but whatever has happened in the past, it’s in the past. It’s time for him to go out there and step it up.”
Chamberlain takes the mound today — he’s scheduled to be the third pitcher against the Phillies in Clearwater — and though Joe Girardi won’t make his decision until next week, and Joba will pitch again before a starter is named, another poor showing should just about take him out of the running.
He’ll have his work cut out for him even if he turns it around. Alfredo Aceves has been the most effective of the candidates so far, and Phil Hughes threw four scoreless innings last night to remain a strong contender. For all the years of Joba Rules and Revised Joba Rules, today could be the day the Yankees decide to send him back to the bullpen for good. You know, at least until someone gets hurt.