Yankees locked into new 'Joba Rules'

Yankees locked into new 'Joba Rules'

TORONTO -- When Joe Girardi leaned back in his chair underneath Rogers Centre late Thursday and acknowledged that the Yankees might have to "get a little creative" to adjust their pitching, those tweaks did not include Joba Chamberlain.

No matter what happens the rest of the way, the Yankees are locked into their new set of "Joba Rules," which saw him limited to three innings and 35 pitches in his last effort. Friday's leash may be a little longer, but just how long the leash will be is being kept secret.

"We've got a routine going, and it's been something we've been searching for," Chamberlain said. "We've got a good one going. I had a good four days in between, so I'm excited to get back out there."

Chamberlain knows how long he will be permitted to pitch against the Blue Jays under this new plan, which has been created in order to keep his innings count under control while allowing him to build up for October.

"Spring Training with a pennant chase," he calls it.

Girardi believes it is important for Chamberlain to be kept abreast of the machinations behind the rules so that he does not begin to build up doubts, even though Chamberlain initially said he'd rather not be informed.

"He knows what his schedule is and that he's basically starting every fifth game," Girardi said. "Before he said that he didn't really want to know. Looking at it, I think it's better to share the plan with him, and we'll continue to do that."

Obviously, keeping Chamberlain to starts in which he doesn't go the necessary five innings to qualify for a decision will tax New York's bullpen. That is where the team's sizable lead in the American League East, as well as its expanded bullpen due to September callups, comes in.

Even though Chamberlain knows there is no chance of him going deep into a game, he said the looming relief help isn't a concern.

"I don't really think about it," he said. "I just go out and try to make my pitches and try to do the things that I need to be successful and help this team. You don't really think about how far you're going to go. You just think about making the next pitch and trying to get better."

Chamberlain won his first four starts coming out of the All-Star break but has gone 0-2 with an 8.50 ERA in his past four since then, including the three-inning, two-run no-decision against the White Sox on Sunday.

"I've thrown the ball well," he said. "It's just that everyone is so good that I have to be a little bit better. I have to go out and just continue to attack the zone. I threw a lot of fastballs last time, so I'll just continue to do that and try to get better."

Pitching matchup
NYY: RHP Joba Chamberlain (8-4, 4.38 ERA)
Though the Yankees won't reveal how many innings he'll pitch, they have confirmed that Chamberlain will remain on a five-day schedule for the rest of the season. He threw just three innings and 35 pitches last time out, against the White Sox on Sunday, in the first test of the revamped "Joba Rules." Considering those rules, it is unlikely that the Yankees will allow him to pitch six innings on Friday, as they did in his last start against the Blue Jays, on Aug. 11. For his career, he has a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings at Rogers Centre.

TOR: RHP Roy Halladay (13-8, 3.13 ERA)
Halladay lost his second straight decision to the Red Sox -- and third overall -- on Sunday at Fenway Park, scattering seven hits and fanning six over six innings of four-run ball. He has lost three consecutive starts only twice before in his career, with the most recent stretch from April 17-29, 2008. In three outings against the Yankees this season, he is 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA and two complete games.

Tidbits
The Yankees' seven-game winning streak marks the fifth time in 2009 that they have won at least seven in a row. Five times is the most of any Major League team since the '98 Yankees, who did it six times. ... Mariano Rivera (tight left groin) plans to throw 10 to 15 pitches off a bullpen mound on Friday and believes he could be available to pitch, but he would not be surprised if he is held out an additional day. "I'm the first one to admit that, as much as I love to pitch, we have to be smart," Rivera said. ... Brett Gardner (fractured left thumb) went 0-for-2 with a walk and a stolen base in his first rehab game for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre. The Yankees plan to re-evaluate him on Sunday, and he could be activated for Monday's doubleheader with the Rays at Yankee Stadium. ... Alfredo Aceves leads the Major Leagues with 10 victories as a reliever. ... Alex Rodriguez has a season-long 12-game hitting streak.

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Up next
• Saturday: Yankees (Andy Pettitte, 12-6, 4.03) at Blue Jays (Brett Cecil, 6-3, 5.42), 1:07 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Yankees (Sergio Mitre, 3-1, 5.65) at Blue Jays (Brian Tallet, 5-9, 5.17), 1:07 p.m. ET
• Monday: Yankees (A.J. Burnett, 10-8, 4.29) vs. Rays (Andy Sonnanstine, 6-8, 6.62), 1:05 p.m. ET

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