[Joba Chamberlain] needed 11 pitches (nine strikes) to power through three Phillies hitters, striking out one. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that the team clocked Chamberlain at 93-94 mph.
“It’s a good sign for me,” Chamberlain said. “It obviously means I’m getting out front and my delivery is better than what it has been.
“So I’m excited about that, and I was able to pitch off my fastball, which sometimes I get away from. It’s early, it’s your first one, but there are always things you can take away until the end of the season.”
Chamberlain said that one major difference is that he has moved his hands from his chest back to his belt before his windup. It reduces movement during his motion and is closer to what he did when he was called up in 2007.
“The important thing is if he feels comfortable with that,” catcher Francisco Cervelli said. “He looks better. His arm is a little quicker right now, but we’ve got to keep working, because it’s a long spring training. The games are when you see if it’s good or not.”
This is a good sign, but I’m with Cervelli. It’s a long spring training and an even longer season. Moving his hands down can make a difference, potentially even a big one, but judging the mechanical change off of one game is impossible.
It is extremely good to hear that his mechanics are better this year than last year though. Joba has always had good stuff, but his biggest problem has been the ability to repeat his mechanics. If he has progressed in this area then there is a decent chance that he’ll finally start fulfilling some of that early promise we saw out of him.
Also, there has been a lot of talk about Joba showing up out of shape, but from most accounts it doesn’t seem to be a noticeable difference. So it seems like early reports of that have been overblown. Even if he has added weight, it doesn’t seem significant.
The early stories on Joba might have been negative, but so far things seem to be going well for him so far.