On Monday Joba Chamberlain showed up to spring training for the first time, but the Yankees got more Joba than expected as he showed up around 15 pounds heavier than what he was last year.
Joba tried to brush off the weight gain as extra muscle he put on thanks to a brand new home gym, but a few days later and the reporters in camp aren’t buying that story. The consensus is that there is definitely some extra poundage, but there doesn’t appear to be a whole lot of extra muscle. So this story has not gone away.
Today reporters caught up with Joba again to discuss the weight gain. He’s sticking with his story that he’s actually in better shape than he has been throughout his career.
“Awesome,” Joba said. “I would probably say that I’m in better shape than I have been in a couple years. The running is great. I mean, running’s never easy, but it’s something that I don’t’ dread every day. It’s a peace of mind for me when I run.”
Running? Better shape? That doesn’t sound like a guy that who shows up to camp about 15 pounds heavier than normal. So what do his bosses have to say?
Yankees general manger Brian Cashman didn’t have much to say. He did acknowledge that Joba has gained weight, but wouldn’t really discuss it.
“He is heavier. Leave it at that,” Cashman said.
Manager Joe Girardi had a bit more to say, but it wasn’t exactly negative. Instead Girardi said that he would reserve judgment for how he does on the mound.
“You think about what it says (that he’s heavier),” said Girardi, “but Joba is going to be pretty much evaluated on how he pitches. That’s the bottom line, and we’ve been very pleased in what we’ve seen so far. The little adjustment he’s made with his hands seems to really (help). He looks better throwing bullpens now than he did last year. He sure does. And that’s encouraging for us.”
That’s the bottom line. It is disturbing that in what is essentially a make-or-break year for Joba that he has shown up out of shape, but as long as the results are there then it becomes a non-story. Unfortunately for us, that means that this story could be sticking around until the season starts and we see if Joba gains or loses consistency on the mound.
What do you think? Is this a non-story or is this a sign that Joba isn’t taking his job seriously?