From Joel Sherman -
After Joba Chamberlain was deployed in yet another new fashion, with just one day off after a two-inning stint and to register a save, Mike Mussina strongly stated that the fireballing righty must be allowed to pitch daily in October.
“When you put on a uniform in the postseason, you’re available every day,” Mussina said. “That’s just simply the way it is.”
When asked if this represented a team-wide view, Mussina said, “I am pretty sure you can take a survey, and it would be the same opinion.”
However, general manager Brian Cashman is entrusted to balance both the present and a future in which he wants a healthy, overpowering Chamberlain in the rotation. So as the overseer of the Joba Rules, he was hardly thrilled about Mussina’s sentiments, saying by phone last night, “Mike needs to worry about doing his job and we will do our job. “At the end of the day, we [upper management] know what we are doing.”
Remember that Cashman only authorized the promotion with the rules attached. And it is generally understood within the organization that the rules were established because of concern that Torre, who has a penchant to overwork favored relievers, would tax a kid who had never before relieved.
It is also clear Torre has never been fully comfortable with the rules. In fact, he often misinterprets just when he could use Chamberlain. For example, Torre, Cashman and minor league pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras, the author of the rules, had a conference call on Friday in which it was determined that rather than two days off following a two-inning stint (like Friday night’s), Chamberlain could return after one off day as long as he was limited to fewer than 25 pitches.
Torre, though, told the media before yesterday’s game that Chamberlain was unavailable. And Cashman said he had to inform Torre that Chamberlain could pitch, which necessitated another conference call with Contreras just to verify that about a half-hour before the first pitch.
I think, for October, the “Joba Rules” should be boiled down to “He only pitches in a game where the Yankees are winning by three runs or less.” That’s easy enough for Torre to understand. And, it will mean that he doesn’t pitch everyday – because the Yankees are not going to be winning by less than four runs in every game.
Like I wrote three weeks ago, Joba’s a big boy. He can handle it.