Chamberlain poised for rebound

Chamberlain poised for rebound after debut

NEW YORK -- A start isn't "just" a start for Joba Chamberlain. Not yet, anyway.

The former reliever made it through just 2 1/3 innings in his much-hyped debut in the rotation on Tuesday against Toronto, but all eyes will stay on him when he heads to the mound against the Royals on Sunday afternoon.

Chamberlain was visibly upset with that short performance, kicking the dirt as he exited. He gave up just one hit but was tagged for two runs, and the Blue Jays went on to defeat the Yankees, 9-3.

To ease Chamberlain's transition from the bullpen, manager Joe Girardi limited him to a pitch count of around 65 for that first outing as a starter. But Chamberlain fell into a hole early against the Jays, who worked him for 38 pitches in the first inning, and he left the game after his 62nd toss.

The hurler said that he won't change his throws, but he'll need quicker outs to increase the number of innings he can stay in a game.

"I'll continue to attack, pitch out my fastball, but I've got to continue to get ahead. They know I'm on a certain pitch count," Chamberlain said. "I've got to take advantage of getting strike one, and try and get those guys out in three pitches or less."

This time he'll have a few more tosses with which to work. Girardi has increased the pitch count, to 75 to 80, and said that he's looking for Chamberlain to throw five innings on Sunday.

"That means there aren't any long innings, long-pitch-count innings," Girardi said. "That means he's attacking the zone."

Chamberlain's first start featured mostly a rotation between his fastball and slider, but he said that if the situation calls for it, he feels confident using all the pitches in his arsenal. And he'll need to show off some curveballs and changeups as he faces batters multiple times at the plate.

Despite the anticipation surrounding his move to the rotation, the 22-year-old said that nerves didn't play a factor in his debut.

"It was actually the best I've probably felt, just being prepared, being ready," he said. "It is what it is.

"You've got to continue to stay grounded and know that you've got to make pitches and continue to get outs. It's definitely something that you look forward to, and you know what comes along with it."

Pitching matchup
NYY: RHP Joba Chamberlain (1-2, 2.42 ERA)
Chamberlain will look for his first win as a starter against Kansas City, a team he's thrown against only once, in 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.

KC: RHP Zack Greinke (5-3, 3.56 ERA)
After a rousing start this season -- he was 5-1 after his first nine starts -- Greinke has hit a bit of a slump. On Tuesday night at Chicago, the White Sox pounded him for four home runs and eight runs. He took his second straight loss, and he hasn't won in his last three starts. In those three games, he's given up 17 runs in 19 innings. Against the Sox, he constantly had the ball up and hittable, something he'll have to avoid against the Yankees. He beat the Bombers, 4-0, with eight shutout innings on April 9 in Kansas City.

Tidbits
With two singles on Saturday, second baseman Robinson Cano recorded his third straight multi-hit game. ... Jason Giambi has two career home runs in 11 at-bats against Greinke. ... With right-hander Chris Britton landing on the 15-day disabled list on Friday with a strained left ribcage, the Yankees have now placed 14 players on the DL 15 times this season (Wilson Betemit twice), surpassing their totals from last season. ... A message board next to Mike Mussina's locker on Saturday morning read, "No one, and I mean no one, eats the cinnamon Munchkins."

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Up next
• Monday: Yankees (Mike Mussina, 9-4, 4.01) vs. Royals (Luke Hochevar, 3-5, 5.13), 1:05 p.m. ET
• Tuesday: Yankees (Chien-Ming Wang, 6-2, 4.57) at A's (Dana Eveland, 4-4, 3.82), 10:05 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Yankees (Darrell Rasner, 3-3, 2.58) at A's (Justin Duchscherer, 5-4, 2.32), 10:05 p.m. ET

Samantha Newman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.