JOBA RULES LEGENDS WORKOUT
By GEORGE A. KING III
February 23, 2008 -- TAMPA - Mike MussinaMike Mussina has 250 big league wins. Chien-Ming WangChien-Ming Wang posted back-to-back 19-win seasons. Yet, it was Joba ChamberlainJoba Chamberlain who sent a buzz through the Legends Field crowd yesterday when he took the mound to throw batting practice.
"He got the loudest cheer and the guy before him [Wang] has won 38 games in the last two years," Joe Girardi said of Chamberlain. "He brings a lot of excitement."
What Chamberlain didn't bring yesterday was his 98-mph fastball and filthy slider. Not on the first day facing hitters. His best pitch was a change-up, which ranks fourth behind the heater, splitter and slider.
"Whether you are a starter or a reliever you are going to need them all," said Chamberlain. "We aren't all so gifted that we can throw a cutter," like Mariano Rivera.
Chamberlain will open the season working the eighth inning in front of Rivera but the plan is for him to be shifted to the rotation at some point.
For the first time in 14 spring trainings, Jason Giambi is preparing for a baseball season without a very close friend. In November, Slugger, an Australian shepherd, succumbed after a long bout with cancer.
"I had him for 13 years," Giambi said. "He was part of my divorce as far as custody."
So, what about getting another dog?
"We thought about it, but with spring training starting, me here and Kristian in New York doing some things, we decided not to."
Girardi can expect a fight from Jeter if the manager wants to give the shortstop a day off.
"Derek never wants to come out. He has played a lot of games over the years and we will talk as time goes on and give him a blow every once in a while," Girardi said.