Via Pete Caldera -
Hank Steinbrenner wants to make one thing perfectly clear: He isn’t creating a tempest in Tampa, Fla.
“Everybody’s trying to make me sound [ticked] off, or panicking. And it’s just not the case,” Steinbrenner said. He’s still pleading patience with his young starters, and he’s not insisting upon Joba Chamberlain’s immediate insertion into the Yankees’ rotation.
“For someone to suggest that I’m dumb enough to demand that happen [with Chamberlain] now … that really [ticks] me off,” the Yankees’ co-chairman said by phone Monday afternoon.
“No, you can’t stick him in the starting rotation right now.”
Monday, Steinbrenner acknowledged the possibility that Chamberlain might remain in relief all year, and bristled at the notion that he’d risk the hard-throwing 22-year-old right-hander’s health.
“He’s my number one asset,” Steinbrener said. “I don’t want to hurt him.”
Steinbrenner’s ire was apparent, following his quotes in Sunday’s New York Times.
Steinbrenner said he and his GM have never strayed from the script.
“At the end of the day, we know we can’t rush into it,” Steinbrenner said of a Chamberlain role change. “I’ve made that very clear to everybody. [The timetable] is up to Joe [Girardi], and [pitching coach] Dave [Eiland], and Brian, and [instructor] Nardi [Contreras] and all our experts. They’re all in agreement with me. And I’m the one who originally suggested that he should be a starter.”
Steinbrenner said he wasn’t advocating an instant role-reversal for Chamberlain. He was quoted later in the Times story as saying that moving Chamberlain into the rotation “has to be done on a schedule so we don’t rush him.”
“I probably said I’d like to see him there [in the rotation] now,” Steinbrenner said of his wishful thinking over a point he supported during the winter. However, he offered some regret for saying in the Times that it was a “mistake” to have switched Chamberlain to the bullpen last season.
Chamberlain’s stunning emergence as Mariano Rivera’s chief set-up man was a primary reason that the Yankees made their 13th straight postseason appearance.
“I probably shouldn’t even have brought that up,” Steinbrenner said, adding that he would not have traded last October for Chamberlain’s added development as a starter. As Cashman explained to Steinbrenner, Chamberlain’s total number of innings pitched in 2007 were not affected.
During the winter, Steinbrenner heavily pushed for the signing of ace lefty Johan Santana, but acquiesced to the majority opinion of his executives. Now, he’s committed to seeing Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes fulfill their potential — despite a combined 0-5 mark and 9.20 ERA.
“You can’t do what they claim I’m doing, panicking after 20 games,” Steinbrenner said. “We will restore things to the way they used to be. It’ll take some patience, but it doesn’t mean we can’t win this year.
“Don’t be surprised if something happens.”
Don’t be surprised if something happens.
Hey, I think we’ve found the slogan for the Yankees team T-shirt this year!