BOSTON -- There is a good chance that if the Yankees hit the eighth inning on Sunday holding a lead against the Red Sox, manager Joe Girardi will put the ball into Joba Chamberlain's right hand.
But that is no lock. Girardi said that the setup role remains up for grabs, a continuation of the challenge that the organization sent to Chamberlain when he could not wrestle the fifth starter's job in a spring competition with Phil Hughes.
"Right now, our eighth inning is somewhat similar to what it was last year at this time," Girardi said. "No one has really claimed that spot. That's something that will work its way out -- the sooner, the better for us. You'd like to establish that role."
The Yankees also have right-handers David Robertson and Chan Ho Park, plus left-hander Damaso Marte, among those who could potentially handle the eighth-inning duties, and Girardi said that he does not want to use his relievers three days in a row.
Girardi added that Alfredo Aceves is available in relief after a spring bout with back stiffness. Marte battled a cranky left shoulder late in camp and would be a game-time decision based upon how he felt after playing catch on Sunday.