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.
The Blue Jays placed right-hander Aaron Sanchez on the 10-day disabled list with a contusion in his right index finger, per a team announcement on Saturday. The assignment is retroactive to Friday. In a corresponding move, righty Marcus Stroman was activated from the DL (right shoulder fatigue) and will take the mound for the Blue Jays at 9:07 PM ET tonight.
Sanchez, 25, is in his fifth season with the club. He hasn’t looked his sharpest so far this year, going 3-5 in 15 starts with a career-worst 4.52 ERA, 5.1 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 through 79 2/3 innings. It’s not yet clear how long he’ll be sidelined, though he could miss as little as one turn in the rotation before returning to the roster in the next week or two.
Sanchez isn’t the only struggling starter in Toronto’s rotation, either. Per MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm, the team placed southpaw Jaime Garcia on the DL (right shoulder tenderness) as well, with lefty reliever Tim Mayza scheduled to take his spot on the roster. In 13 starts this season, Garcia carried a 2-6 record, 6.16 ERA, 4.5 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 61 1/3 innings. Any further decisions pertaining to the rotation — including Tuesday’s starter against the Astros — have yet to be publicly addressed.