Joba Chamberlain told the New York Post that he will arrive in Tampa next week with the mindset of a starting pitcher:
“I’m going to go in and understand a lot of guys are fighting for that spot,” Chamberlain said after an autograph signing in New Rochelle in conjunction with Steiner Sports. “Nothing is guaranteed.”
The team has asked him to go into camp expecting to be a starter, but he’ll compete with Phil Hughes, Chad Gaudin, Sergio Mitre and Alfredo Aceves for the fifth spot in the rotation.
Chamberlain, 24, is a bit of a mystery after finishing 9-6 with a 4.75 ERA in 2009. His season took a turn for the worse after he was faced with the “Joba Rules” in the summer. He found himself in the bullpen during the postseason, posting a 2.84 ERA in 10 appearances while seeing an uptick in velocity. Hughes figures to be his biggest competition for the fifth spot, but we could see a different Joba this season, as those pesky innings limits are expected to be a thing of the past.
Yankees top prospect Gleyber Torres will be promoted to the majors this weekend, per a report from Jack Curry of the YES Network. Torres was expected to make his debut earlier in the season, but his starting date was pushed back after he suffered a bout of back tightness last Monday. Now, however, it looks like he’s finally healthy enough to make an impact on a team that’s in sore need of an offensive boost. As of Saturday evening, the team has yet to officially confirm the move.
The 21-year-old infielder has made quite the impression in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this spring, slashing .370/.415/.543 with five extra-base hits and 11 RBI in his first 53 plate appearances. Prior to the start of the 2018 season, he was ranked first overall in the Yankees’ system and fifth among the league’s best prospects (via MLB Pipeline). His numbers at the plate have been made all the more impressive by the fact that he’s only 10 months removed from Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing arm; neither the injury nor the lengthy recovery process seems to have had any detrimental effect on his game play this year.
While Torres appears most comfortable as a shortstop, he’s not expected to supplant Didi Gregorius in a starting role. Instead, it’s more likely that he’ll sub in at second and third base among the likes of Miguel Andujar, Neil Walker and Ronald Torreyes.