Girardi: Chamberlain was 'unavailable'

May, 12, 2011
5/12/11
12:56
AM ET
Joba Chamberlain was not used in the Yankees' 4-3, 11-inning loss to the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night, and the reliever looked and sounded disappointed about it in the clubhouse after the game.

"Joba was unavailable," said manager Joe Girardi in his postgame news conference.

"I had no idea," Chamberlain said later, about his "unavailable" status.

"I mean, I kinda assumed -- just [having pitched] three out of four days, even with the day off," Chamberlain added.

Yes, Chamberlain had appeared in the Yankees' previous three games. But the team did have an off day on Monday.

In Texas over the weekend, Chamberlain pitched a scoreless inning on Saturday (10 pitches), and another one on Sunday (20 pitches).

After the day off, and with regular eighth-inning setup man Rafael Soriano sidelined for Tuesday night's game against the Royals with elbow inflammation, Chamberlain was called upon in the eighth inning with the Yankees holding a 3-1 lead. And the 25-year-old looked like the phenom he was as a rookie in 2007, needing just nine pitches to retire the Royals' 2-3-4 hitters in order. Chamberlain struck out the first two hitters he faced, and hit 98 miles per hour on the radar gun on one pitch.

And yet, with the Yankees leading 2-1 in the eighth on Wednesday night, and Soriano again unavailable, Girardi handed the ball to David Robertson instead. Robertson had also worked the night before, needing 26 pitches to get through the seventh before giving way to Chamberlain.

Robertson walked two of the first three batters he faced in the eighth, and ended up allowing the Royals to tie the game at 2 on a two-out single by Wilson Betemit.

"I blew it tonight," Robertson said. "I couldn't throw strikes."

Then, after Mariano Rivera pitched a scoreless ninth, Girardi turned to Buddy Carlyle and Luis Ayala, who allowed the Royals to score a run in the 10th, and another in the 11th, which turned out to be the game-winner.

When asked a follow-up question on Chamberlain in the postgame news conference, on whether Chamberlain was OK physically, Girardi said, "[It's] just he's worked a lot lately, and we're gonna need him the whole season."

When asked how he felt physically in the clubhouse after the game, Chamberlain said, "How do I feel? What do you mean? I feel fine."

Then Chamberlain exited the clubhouse. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.276 10 54 57
OTHER LEADERS
HRM. Teixeira 20
RBIJ. Ellsbury 54
RB. Gardner 76
OPSB. Gardner .791
WM. Tanaka 12
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135