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New York Yankee notes: No training wheels for Joba ... if he starts

Joba Chamberlain is a free man. No more 'Joba Rules,' no more intentional three-inning starts or 50-pitch limits. This is, of course, if Chamberlain can pitch his way into the New York Yankees starting rotation this spring.

Here is pitching coach Dave Eiland talking about Chamberlain and the fifth starter spot.

"For me to say who's the clear favorite - right now I can't do that," Eiland said Tuesday. "Time will tell. We have interesting guys, and this is going to be fun to watch. Competition brings out the best in guys, and we'll see who pulls ahead of the pack."

"He's just going to go out and pitch and he'll be the one who'll dictate when he comes out as far as getting hit or getting tired or losing his stuff," Eiland said.

"He's not going to have any restrictions, so Joe (Girardi) and I are not going to have to go into the game thinking, 'Oh, he's got 85 pitches or six innings or whatever comes first.' We don't have to game plan it out. The kid gloves are off, and he's just going to go out and pitch and he knows that and he's going to come in and be all geared up to win that job, as are the other guys. Competition should bring out the best in everyone."

I am on record favoring Phil Hughes for the last spot in the rotation. The lack of an innings limit, though, is probably the biggest thing in Chamberlain's favor when figuring out who should start and who should be in the bullpen.

Here are some other Yankee-related stories to keep you busy as the countdown to Spring Training continues.

  • I love the sound of what one American League talent evaluator said about his expectations for new Yankee outfielder Curtis Granderson this season.

    "In that ballpark, he has a chance to go off," the scout said of Granderson’s left-handed swing taking advantage Yankee Stadium’s launching pad in right. "It wouldn’t surprise me if he has a big year to send Detroit a message. He is going to have a helluva season offensively. He has a chance to hit 40 homers and steal 40 bases."
  • Buster Olney ranks the Yankees' starting rotation as one of the three best in baseball. He says it could be the best if A.J. Burnett has a big season.
  • Bugs & Cranks has an exclusive interview with Jim Abbott
  • The Times-Tribune has a two-part breakdown on all 20 of the Yankees Spring Training non-roster invitees. (Part 1 ... Part 2)