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Notes: Chamberlain settles in

Rookie getting first real taste of life at Yankee Stadium
08/13/2007 9:26 PM ET
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com

Chamberlain is looking forward to exploring New York City.(AP)
NEW YORK -- Joba Chamberlain's last trip to the Bronx was little more than an expanded facility tour, tempered by a realization that he'd soon be shuffled out and on his way.

Not this time. Thirteen days after dropping by Yankee Stadium to pick up a passport, Chamberlain has been invited to settle in, unpacking his belongings in a locker neighboring Roger Clemens'.

"Awesome," Chamberlain said. "It's just another part of everything that's going on. I'm just enjoying every second of it. ... This is a little better. I'm not leaving. I'll stay here and enjoy."

Chamberlain's journey to the Majors has been well-chronicled, dating from days cleaning restrooms for the city of Lincoln, Neb., before getting a chance pitching college ball for the Cornhuskers and finally shooting through the Yankees' system as a touted first-round selection.

The 21-year-old right-hander can begin a new chapter beginning Monday, wearing pinstripes and continuing his assimilation into the Yankees' late-inning picture.

Yankees manager Joe Torre said that Chamberlain -- who struck out four in two perfect innings on Friday at Cleveland -- has shown a solid personality and "the right mix" as he continues to adjust, but cautioned that the club must still take care of the prized youngster.

The Yankees plan to allow Chamberlain one day off for each inning pitched and do not intend to bring him in the middle of innings.

"He's really been fun to watch, but let's not get too excited," Torre said. "Once we get started counting on someone with that limited experience, it's just not fair to that person. It's tough to control your enthusiasm, only because of what he's shown us."

Chamberlain said that he feels his body has started to recover better between appearances, and that the training staff is garnering a clearer idea of how to help him train between appearances.

"I've worked my tail off to get to this point, but I have to realize that I have to keep working harder and harder to stay here," Chamberlain said. "It's one thing to get here, but I want to stay here."

Chamberlain said he is looking forward to having some time to explore New York City, something he hasn't yet had an opportunity to do (though he did once attend a Yankees home game from the stands).

"[I want to see] just the crazy amounts of people, because I'm not used to that," Chamberlain said. "It's going to be an experience. I might just sit there and watch all the people walk by for a while."

A-Rod honored again: The Yankees formally presented Alex Rodriguez with an assortment of items before Monday's game, recognizing the slugger's 500th career homer from Aug. 4 vs. Kansas City.

Noted artist Peter Max presented Rodriguez with two multicolored "500" portraits, splashed in paint colors of red, yellow, green, pink and blue and featuring Rodriguez's mugshots.

Max also created a sculpture featuring several baseballs arranged to create the number "500," with Rodriguez's face within one zero and a Yankees logo inside the other. The piece briefly fell to the Yankee Stadium turf after being unveiled, prompting Rodriguez to burst into laughter.

Torre presented Rodriguez with the home plate from his 500th homer, which came off the Royals' Kyle Davies, and Derek Jeter offered Rodriguez a sterling silver tray marking the achievement.

Rocket's absence: Much was made of Clemens' so-called family plan months ago, but it became a forgotten issue when the right-hander traveled with the Yankees for the majority of games since joining the club.

With Clemens serving his five-game suspension for intentionally throwing at the Blue Jays' Alex Rios last week, the Rocket requested and was granted permission to rejoin the Yankees later in the homestand. Torre said he believed Clemens is in Kentucky to observe his son, Koby, an infielder in the Astros system.

"He can't do anything here doing the game," Torre said. "I'm not worried about if he's getting his work in."

Clemens' contract does not require him to ask permission to leave the team between starts, though it is believed he did so as a courtesy.

What a week: Reliever Jim Brower, recently promoted from Triple-A, rejoined the Yankees Monday after leaving the team for the birth of a healthy daughter, Landry Joy, in Minnesota.

"It's been a [heck] of a week," Brower said. "It's been great. It was a lot of travel, but after having a bad year last year, I've been rewarded for having a good year this season and then to have the baby come a little early -- it's always a surprise."

Brower was 4-1 with a 1.65 ERA and 20 saves in 35 appearances for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He made his second appearance for New York in Tuesday's win at Toronto, allowing two hits and a run in one inning, but said he is over any early jitters.

"They're getting a guy with a lot of experience, and I'm throwing the ball as well as I have in my career," Brower said. "I had to show my stuff was still there, and my numbers were good. But they can be better."

Bombers bits: Jorge Posada (neck) returned to the lineup after missing the entire three-game series at Cleveland with an injury, first felt on Monday in Toronto. Posada didn't complain after taking batting practice. ... Torre reiterated that he does not envision Jason Giambi -- on the bench Monday -- playing much first base down the stretch, except in emergency situations. "It's just something I want him to continue working at," Torre said.

Coming up: The Yankees play the second game of their three-game series with the Orioles on Tuesday, sending right-hander Jeff Karstens (0-2, 10.12 ERA) to the mound opposite right-hander Daniel Cabrera (8-12, 5.14 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.

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