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Old 08-29-09, 02:53 AM
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Yankees revise 'Joba Rules' again

Posted: Friday August 28, 2009 7:15PM; Updated: Friday August 28, 2009 9:15PM
Yankees revise 'Joba Rules' again

NEW YORK (AP) -- Get ready for a new set of Joba Rules.

The New York Yankees have scrapped their plan for Joba Chamberlain once again, opting to give him a regular spot in the rotation for the remainder of the season and shorten his outings to hold down his innings.

Chamberlain had been getting extended rest between some starts since the All-Star break because the Yankees are concerned about the 23-year-old's workload in his second full season in the majors.

"It's the results. The bottom line is for us to win games and get the best out of players," manager Joe Girardi said before the Yankees hosted the Chicago White Sox on Friday night. "So in evaluating what happened, it looked like it was working great. He came out of the break, was lights out, but we think that a change needed to be made."

Girardi talked to pitching coach Dave Eiland and general manager Brian Cashman about the situation after Chamberlain was hit hard in Tuesday night's 10-9 loss to the Texas Rangers, allowing seven runs and nine hits over four innings to drop to 1-2 with an 8.55 ERA in his last four starts.

After sleeping on it for a couple of days and more talks, Girardi called Chamberlain into his office before the series opener against the White Sox and told him about the new plan.

"He said he's running out of erasers but that's all right," Chamberlain said. "At least I'm always on his mind."

Chamberlain pitched only 88 1/3 innings in the minors before he joined the Yankees in August 2007, arriving with a set of guidelines -- the Joba Rules -- designed to protect the prized right-hander. He entered this season with 124 1/3 innings in the majors but ran his total for this year to 130 2/3 innings with the outing against Texas.

"The Joba Rules are still going strong," Chamberlain said with a grin. "I still see the T-shirts every once in a while."

Chamberlain went eight days between starts over the All-Star break and responded with 6 2/3 sparkling innings in a win against Detroit on July 19. He worked on regular rest in each of his next two outings, allowing just one run over 15 innings in victories over Oakland and Tampa Bay.

Then came a shaky outing against Boston on seven days' rest, starting his rough stretch. He had eight days off before facing the Rangers.

"We thought it was working and then we decided, you know what, we're going to keep him on a routine," Girardi said. "Routine is important and we had discussions with Joba and we changed it."

The AL East-leading Yankees still plan to hold down Chamberlain's innings, so the switch means he will leave some predetermined outings early in the game. It also will affect how Girardi uses his bullpen, but the Yankees could add some relievers when rosters expand on Tuesday to lessen the strain.

"The important thing is to make sure by the end of the month that he is extremely ready to go, the end of September," Girardi said.

Chamberlain, 8-4 with a 4.34 ERA in 24 starts this season, acknowledged Friday he had been frustrated with the staggered rest even though he understood the reasoning. He also praised Girardi and Eiland, saying they did a great job of communicating with him about the schedule and how it was working out.

"It's going to be something that's going to be good for all of us," Chamberlain said. "The wins are going to come. I'm not worried about that. But at the end we need to win a World Series."

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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