Hank Steinbrenner's comments about Joba Chamberlain segue beautifully into something I wanted to write about anyway. I whole-heartedly agree with Steinbrenner's assertion that Joba needs to be in the rotation ASAP.
After Pettitte and Wang, the Yankees rotation is in shambles. Mike Mussina is probably finished. He can't hit 88 MPH on the gun anymore. Ian Kennedy, with acoustic stuff, needs to hit spots in order to be effective. Thus far this season, he has walked 13 men in 14 innings. It's starting to look like he could use a couple more months on the farm. Phil Hughes's stuff has nearly returned to his preinjury form, but he is curiously missing spots with his fastball, leading to fat pitches in hitters' counts.
Throw in the fact that the Yankees have relief pitchers coming out of their ears on the farm (Britton, Ramirez, Patterson, Albaladejo, Giese, Veras, and even possibly Humberto Sanchez, J.B. Cox, and Mark Melancon by the All-Star break) and it's a slam dunk. I know these names mean nothing to the Mike and the Mad Dogs of the world, but the Yankees have more solid relief prospects than they will ever be able to utilize. Will any of them be as good as Joba? Probably not. But if any two of them can do a respectable job it makes all the sense in the world to give Joba the opportunity to throw thrice the innings.
Yes Chamberlain hasn't "proven" that he can be a great starting pitcher in the Major Leagues. The same thing could have been said about every great pitcher, just before they proved that they were great. The guy throws four pitches, three of which are plus-plus. He throws strikes and is a big stocky kid. Show me the red flags that cast doubt on his ability to start. Besides, has he even "proven" he can hold up to the rigors of a whole season in the bullpen? The guy has been a reliever for about a half of a season. I believe he has pitched on consecutive nights twice in his life and has never pitched on three consecutive nights.
Give 'em hell, Hank!