Joba has a strong day, quiets the naysayers . . . for now

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Joba Chamberlain headshot.jpgI don’t recall a spring training game being talked up as much as yesterday’s Yankees-Phillies tilt, which the New York press breathlessly reported as Joba Chamberlain’s make-or-break day.  Certainly Chamberlain needed a good outing — he’s been pitching terribly so far this spring — but it’s not like the Yankees are so shortsighted that they’d decide who their fifth starter would be in mid-March.

But he did pitch well. One run over four innings, pounding the strike zone and pitching very economically, which for him is the biggest challenge. Girardi called Chamberlain’s effort “outstanding.” Which, if I can anticipate the tabloids I have yet to read this morning, will somehow thrust Chamberlain out front in the horse race they’re calling.

Which is just as silly as saying he was so far behind before.  Girardi and Cashman and everyone will probably wait until just before opening day to decide this thing.  And once it’s decided, the repercussions of the decision, such as they are, will likely only be felt for a few months.  If Hughes wins the job, the stricter innings pitched limit he’ll be under will likely lead to Chamberlain or someone else making spot starts.  After this season, both Hughes and Chamberlain will likely be in the Yankees rotation.

In a spring filled with very few compelling storylines in Yankees camp, this one is being overblown.

Indians sign Melky Cabrera to a minor league deal

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The Indians have signed free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera to a minor league deal. The pact is pending a physical.

Cabrera, 33, went unsigned this past offseason after putting up a season of .285/.324/.423 with 17 homers and 85 RBI with the White Sox and the Royals.

Cabrera will report to Columbus once he passes his physical and, according to Paul Hoynes, there are no guarantees being made to him that he’ll get playing time. That said, the Indians aren’t getting much outfield production from anyone besides Michael Brantley, and Cabrera’s status as a switch hitter would give Terry Francona some flexibility, so it would not be shocking to see him on the big club after some reps in the minors.