Joba Chamberlain no longer is the Yankees’ primary eighth-inning setup reliever, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman reports, but Chamberlain’s spot on the roster is secure.
An unidentified Yankees official confirmed to Sherman that Chamberlain’s role has changed. "The first thing we felt we had to do was take him out of the eighth inning," the official said. Sherman’s sources also shot down speculation that Chamberlain would be sent to the minors to work out his problems.
David Robertson and Boone Logan preserved the Yankees’ 3-2 lead in the eighth Monday night in Cleveland. Afterward, manager Joe Girardi refused to say that Chamberlain had lost his setup job. Before Tuesday’s game, he told reporters, "We would like for him to pitch at the level he is capable of pitching at."
Chamberlain has a 5.95 ERA in 43 games (all in relief) this season. He is averaging better than a strikeout per inning, however, and Sherman reports the Yankees are pleased with Chamberlain’s attitude and work ethic.
Chamberlain’s struggles have led New York to explore outside replacements as the July 31 nonwaiver trading deadline nears. The club reportedly asked the Royals about closer Joakim Soria, but Kansas City said Soria wasn’t available. Besides, ESPN’s Andrew Marchand reports Soria can reject a trade to the Yankees, along with five other teams.
New York also is believed to be looking at Blue Jays left-hander Scott Downs, Nationals right-hander Matt Capps and Pittsburgh righties Octavio Dotel and Joel Hanrahan.
Last week, the Diamondbacks reportedly asked for Chamberlain as part of trade talks involving right-hander Dan Haren, only to have the Yankees say no.