Steinbrenner: Chamberlain will not be rushed into rotation Print
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Monday, 21 April 2008 15:25
MLB Headline News

 TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -Hank Steinbrenner thinks Joba Chamberlain can become an elite starting pitcher but realizes his place is in the bullpen for now.
``We're not going to rush him,'' the New York Yankees co-chairman said Monday at the team's spring training complex. ``I think most people agree with me, including the baseball people and most of the fans, that sooner or later it would be nice if he was a starter.''
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Steinbrenner and the team's front office were in agreement on the role of the 22-year-old right-hander, who is 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA as Mariano Rivera's setup man this year after going 2-0 with an 0.38 ERA in 19 games when he arrived in the major leagues last season.
``Hank and I talked. We didn't need to,'' Cashman said. ``We were on the same page yesterday. We're on the same page today. And we're on the same page moving forward. Joba Chamberlain is bullpen because it's where he's needed the most right now as well as because he has an innings limit. He can't start because of that innings limit or he'd have to stop starting here at some point.''
Cashman expects the switch to the rotation to come sometime this year.
``He'll finish out as a starter. He won't start as a starter,'' the GM said.
Steinbrenner has high expectations for Chamberlain, comparing his potential to that of Boston ace Josh Beckett.
``We need a Beckett, we don't have one, and he's the one that can do it.'' Steinbrenner said.
He regrets that Chamberlain, a starter last year in the minors, became a setup man to patch a hole in the bullpen last year.
``Slowed his development. I wouldn't have done it,'' he said.
Steinbrenner would like to see the move to the bullpen come sooner rather than later but understands the move to the rotation will be slowed by innings limits.
``If it doesn't, he'll be great for us in the bullpen, but we all want to see him as a starter.'' Steinbrenner said.
Two other young pitchers, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, have struggled this season. Steinbrenner said he is remaining patient with the pair.
``You have to remember they're still rookies,'' he said.
In other news, third baseman Alex Rodriguez has a mild strain of his right quadriceps and will rejoin the Yankees on Tuesday in Chicago.
A-Rod was injured Sunday in New York's 7-1 win at Baltimore. He returned to New York rather than accompany the team to Chicago, where the Yankees start a series against the White Sox on Tuesday night. Rodriguez was to see a physical therapist later Monday, Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo said.
Rodriguez will be evaluated again Tuesday, according to Zillo, who was unsure whether A-Rod would be available to play in the series opener.
Steinbrenner said Rodriguez's status is day to day.
``They told me he's going to be fine,'' Steinbrenner said. ``It's not going to be a big deal.''
Yankees reliever Kyle Farnsworth is appealing a three-game suspension announced Saturday for throwing a pitch behind the neck of Boston slugger Manny Ramirez last Thursday.
``I do know for a fact that Farnsworth did not intend to throw it exactly where it went, that close to behind his head,'' Steinbrenner said. ``That's not what he intended. I thought Manny handled it with class, his response. Kyle is doing his job, backing his team. But he did not intend to put it in that spot.''
Ramirez told Boston-area reporters he thought that Farnsworth did not deserve the suspension.
 

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