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Joba Chamberlain looking to return to rotation?

02/26/2013 5:08 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Joba Chamberlain said Tuesday that he feels he's capable of being a Major League starter.(AP)
Joba Chamberlain made his spring debut on Tuesday, allowing one hit and striking out two in one inning pitched, his first true steps towards being a keystone in the Yankees’ bridge to Mariano Rivera this summer.

Chamberlain has taken on multiple roles throughout his Yankees career, and in talking to the media after the Yankees’ 4-3 loss to the Phillies, he may have given more cause for debate by saying that he feels he has the capability to be a starter – or a closer – in the Majors.

“It’s one of those things where it’s like, do you think you have the capability to start? Yes,” Chamberlain said. “Do I have four pitches that I can throw for a strike? Yes. Do I have two plus pitches in the bullpen that I can throw at any time? Yes. I guess I’m trying to have my cake and eat it, too.”

Chamberlain and his electric repertoire burst on the scene in 2007, when he came up in August and pitched to a 0.38 ERA in 24 innings out of the bullpen. He began 2008 in the Yankees bullpen, but was converted to the rotation in June and made 12 starts before missing a month with a shoulder injury and returning to the bullpen down the stretch.

The following spring, Joba was moved back to the rotation and went 9-6 with a 4.75 ERA in 31 starts in 2009, but his innings were limited in August and September and he was converted back to the bullpen for the postseason – a role he has been in ever since.

Chamberlain touched on his multiple conversions in making his statements, saying he feels he’s proven his worth on both ends and hopes to stick with one role, whichever it may be, going forward.

“I feel like I’m good enough to do both. I’ve proven that I can do both. Whatever it is, if I close (or start), I want to be one or the other,” Chamberlain said. “I’ve been in the role of in the bullpen for a while, but am I confident that if I got the chance to start again somewhere — wherever that’s at — I could do it? Without a doubt.”

That said, Chamberlain did note that he was going to “focus on this year and what I can do to improve to help (the Yankees) win,” and would wait to worry about 2014 and beyond until he season ends. “I don’t know what the future holds for me,” Chamberlain said. “I have no idea. All I can control is to be healthy this year, to go out and pitch and whatever happens, happens.”

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