|One of the only things sweeter than that mustache could be|
Joba's 2013 season.
The Yankees currently have a starting rotation with CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, and Ivan Nova. Michael Pineda is expected to join them in early June, which means someone will have to be moved to the bullpen or elsewhere. Chamberlain did not say that he wanted to start in 2013, but still may have the talent to do so.
One possibility could be that Chamberlain decides to test free-agent waters after the season and look for a team in need of a starter. His focus right now is on staying heathy for a full year and then seeing what the future holds.
His current role with the Yankees will be a late inning reliever and possibly competing for a seventh inning job. David Robertson is expected to be the set-up man for Mariano Rivera, which leaves the seventh inning open after Rafael Soriano signed with the Washington Nationals in January.
Left-handed pitcher David Aardsma and Chamberlain could complement each other well in the seventh inning. Chamberlain has a leg up on Aardsma after the left-hander missed most of the season and just pitched one inning for New York in 2012.
Expectation for Chamberlain? A breakout year for him could be in the works, if he manages to get back into the form before Tommy John surgery. In 2011, he was pitching well with a 2.83 ERA through 27 games with 24 strikeouts and just seven walks. In 2012, he came back from a trampoline accident and pitched in 22 games with a similar showing of 22 strikeouts and six walks.
His 4.35 ERA from 2012 is not much of an indicator that Chamberlain is back, because early on he struggled with his pitch command. Later on in the season, it was back and he did not earn a run in his last 11 appearances. He managed to drop his earned run average from 10.57 to 4.35 in that span of time.
The Yankees will be looking for more of the same from Chamberlain's late season surge to charge the bullpen's bridge to Rivera.