Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Joba: Setup Fine, for Now

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Joba: Setup Fine, for Now

Article excerpt

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Joba Chamberlain swiftly and unexpectedly breathed new life into the old debate about whether he's best suited as a starter or as a lock-down reliever.

Asked about his ultimate pitching aspirations, Chamberlain said he could succeed in either role -- an answer that might also be viewed as an advertisement for 29 other clubs.

The Yankees right-hander is eligible for free agency after this season and solid setup men aren't nearly as marketable as starters or closers.

"This is probably going to spark a bunch of stuff," Chamberlain said by way of warning before launching into a rapid-fire personal Q- and-A.

"Do you think you have the capability to start? Yes," Chamberlain said. "Do I have four pitches that I can throw for a strike? Yes. Do I have two [above average] pitches in the bullpen that I can throw at any time? Yes.

"I guess it's trying to have my cake and eat it too, because I'm good enough to do both," Chamberlain said Tuesday after his first relief outing of camp, a scoreless inning in a 4-3 exhibition loss to the Phillies.

Chamberlain's litany of mishaps and injuries have blurred the memory of when he was being touted as a potential equal to then- Boston ace Josh Beckett or the successor to Mariano Rivera. This season, Chamberlain is slated to be Joe Girardi's seventh-inning setup man, with David Robertson as the primary lead-in to the 43- year-old Rivera. But Chamberlain, 27, still has a long-term vision of himself as either a starter or a closer.

"I want to be one or the other," Chamberlain said. "I've been in the bullpen awhile, but am I confident that if I got a chance to start somewhere -- wherever that's at -- do I think I could do it? Without a doubt."

To put it in figures, starter Phil Hughes -- also entering his free agent walk year -- is set to earn $7.15 million this year as opposed to Chamberlain's $1. …

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