Via the Daily News -
Do your own jobs, and stop worrying about Joba.
That was Hank Steinbrenner’s strongly worded message Friday for Johnny Damon or any other veteran Yankee who wants to see Joba Chamberlain switched back to the bullpen.
“I love Johnny Damon as a player and a person, and he’s really doing the job right now. But let’s be honest here, he’s not Branch Rickey,” Steinbrenner told the Daily News in a telephone interview before Friday night’s game against the Royals, referring to the legendary baseball executive. “Johnny is a player, and as players, they all need to let the brain trust do the thinking and do the talking.
“The players just need to play and to worry about winning games.”
“I think so much of the media and a lot of fans are really missing the point on Joba, I really do,” Steinbrenner said. “Everyone’s worried about the eighth inning, and I agree it’s important, but (shoot), we haven’t even been getting to the eighth inning most (games).
“I think even (Chien-Ming) Wang’s slump shows how fragile starting pitching can be. We’ll get Wang straightened out and Joba will help us get our starting pitching in order, and then we’ll concentrate on doing something about the bullpen.”
“Every baseball expert I’ve talked to or read (their quotes) agrees with us, that Joba was wasting away out there (in the pen),” Steinbrenner said. “The kid is 22 and he’s going to have a long and productive career. We believe, as do all the experts, that it’s going to be at the front of our rotation for the next 10 years or so. Pitching, that’s the only way to build.”
To that end, Steinbrenner acknowledged he is “very happy” with the Yankees’ approach to this week’s entry draft, especially with the addition of high-school fireballer Gerrit Cole in the first round and college pitchers Jeremy Bleich and Joseph Bittle with their next two picks.
“We’re building for the next 10-15 years to be a power, and the way you do that is with arms,” he said. “(Cole) was by far the best available pitcher where we were picking (28th), and we are happy to add him.”
Asked if he expects the Yanks to have trouble signing Cole, Steinbrenner added: “Some people are a little scared away by (agent Scott) Boras, but I’m not. One thing you can say about Boras and his people, is they’re pretty damn good scouts, too. They always seem to come up with top talent to represent, every year.
“We don’t shy away from his guys, because he usually signs and represents some of the best ones. … So we look forward to getting him in the fold with our other young pitchers as soon as we can.”
For the record, the report in the News had no mention as to whether or not Hank was stripped to the waist and eating a block of cheese the size of a car battery when he made these comments.