NEW YORK -- At least for the next two nights, Joba Chamberlain will slide into his old eighth-inning role, and the Yankees right-hander has his best weapons back at his disposal.
The Yankees were pleased to see Chamberlain touch 98 mph with his fastball in a scoreless eighth inning during Tuesday's 3-1 win over the Royals, filling in as Rafael Soriano battles right elbow discomfort. But Chamberlain said he wasn't reading the gun.
"You've got to throw strikes," Chamberlain said. "I don't care how hard you throw in this league. If you don't throw what you want, these guys are going to make you pay."
Chamberlain entered Wednesday with a 3.18 ERA in 17 appearances this season, having struck out 16 and walked three while allowing 12 hits in 17 innings. Manager Joe Girardi said that Chamberlain has been even more impressed by Chamberlain's slider, which seems to have regained some of its trademark bite.
"It's had more depth this year and been more of a swing-and-miss pitch," Girardi said. "At times, he couldn't throw it close enough to the zone to get people to swing and miss.
"His curveball has been pretty consistent, and he's really been a three-pitch pitcher. The overall stuff has been better."
Chamberlain agreed that his consistency has improved -- a major reason that Girardi has trusted him over Dave Robertson for the seventh-inning slot this season.
"We're getting back there, and it felt good the last couple of months," Chamberlain said. "You've just got to continue to keep throwing, keep getting after what you're working and hope it's there."