Yanks have Joba's starts mapped out

Yanks have Joba's starts mapped out

NEW YORK -- Though Joba Chamberlain is vaguely familiar with the theory behind integrating a young pitcher into the big leagues -- at this point, how could he not be? -- he by no means understands the logistics of it. Nor does he care to.

"That's for the smart people to worry about," Chamberlain said. "I just go out and pitch as much as I can."

Which, at this point, is not as often as he'd like. Yankees manager Joe Girardi revealed Wednesday that Chamberlain's next start will come next Wednesday in Oakland, eight days after his most recent outing against the Blue Jays.

Though Girardi has Chamberlain's starts mapped out for the rest of the season, he will reveal the date of each one only after Chamberlain pitches, to keep him from focusing too far into the future.

"The important thing is his health -- his long-term health," Girardi said.

Sergio Mitre and Chad Gaudin will start Saturday and Sunday in some order, depending on whether Gaudin is needed out of the bullpen this week. And the rest of the rotation will remain in its regular order, although -- as a byproduct of the Joba Plan -- Andy Pettitte will also receive a week of rest between starts.

It's all part of the plan to prevent Chamberlain -- who has already thrown a career-high 121 2/3 innings this season -- from exceeding his previous high by too great a margin. Chamberlain has never thrown more than 112 1/3 innings in any season as a professional, and recent studies have suggested that players who exceed their career highs by more than 30 innings are at increased risk for a setback or major injury.

Chamberlain's injury history in the Minors and college has given the Yankees all the more reason to operate with prudence.

"Starting pitching is at a premium," Girardi said. "Good starting pitching is really at a premium. So when you have a good starter, you're going to be smart about it -- especially when they're young."

It is a plan that Chamberlain has accepted, even if he does not entirely agree with it.

"As a competitor, you want to be out there with your teammates all the time, fighting and clawing," Chamberlain said. "But I also understand that I want to do this for a long time, not just a couple of years. You have to keep that in perspective. I've learned to become patient over the last couple of years being here."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.