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David Brown

Joba Chamberlain reaches 96 on the gun & his ERA goes on a diet

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Joba Chamberlain got over the hump by standing a little taller on the bump.

In some good spring training news for the Yankees, Chamberlain hit 96 mph on the radar gun and used two different sliders effectively against the Reds on Tuesday night.

Chamberlain, who had suffered through two poor spring starts, felt motivated to improve before opening day got any closer.

"We're less than a month away now," Chamberlain said. "You understand there's work to be done, but you also have to have that sense of urgency.

"Maybe you need a kick in the rear end every once in a while."

Chamberlain’s line: 3 IP, 3 H, ER, 0 BB, 3 K. His ERA dropped from 18.00 to 6.75.

Much more like how Real Joba's supposed to pitch. Maybe the other guy was Fake Joba?

Chamberlain looks slimmer to me than last year's model and he looked a lot more comfortable on the mound after making an adjustment in how he toes the rubber and delivers the ball.

"It's just two little things; staying taller over the rubber and just feeling more comfortable," Chamberlain said. "The ball came out a lot better and the numbers translate it."

Pitching coach Dave Eiland noticed a flaw in Chamberlain's delivery and has been working on it with him ever since.

"I was putting energy behind the rubber instead of over the rubber," Chamberlain said. "It's an inch that makes a difference. It's amazing."

It seemed hyperbolic in a New York way when a reporter asked Chamberlain if he felt his spot in the rotation was in jeopardy after coming in with an 18.00 ERA.

Don't a lot of players have kinks to work out in the spring?

Yeah, Chamberlain said, but it also was a reasonable question.

"I always think that; there's a lot of guys behind me that want my job," Chamberlain said. "Just like I want CC's and A.J.'s and Chien-Ming's jobs. That makes our team better because you know there's guys behind you that are going to push you.

"There's so many talented guys that you can't take a deep breath and relax for a second."

I think it's OK for Joba to now take a deep breath and relax, though it's good to see him hitting the mid-90s on the gun. He also has been asking Sabathia and Burnett about varying his slider. It can be soft or hard, depending on what he wants to use it for.

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