NEW YORK -- Skipper Joe Girardi said he'll need some "big innings" from inconsistent reliever Joba Chamberlain.
As for Chamberlain? He "can't wait" for those opportunities to help lead his team to the playoffs.
"It's great," Chamberlain told ESPNNewYork.com about Girardi's comment. "I don't really read much of the newspapers, but it's great to hear. It's obviously been up and down [for me], but you keep battling. This game is obviously tough to be consistently good at, so you've got to go out there and keep battling. ... I'm looking forward to it and I can't wait to get out there."
New York Yankees
Girardi has occasionally inserted a struggling Chamberlain -- whose ERA is just below 5 -- into the latter innings of blowout games. But the reliever hasn't lost confidence.
"Everything is good -- obviously playing good baseball, finishing the year strong and definitely staying healthy," Chamberlain said Wednesday at an event for the video game Skylanders Giants. "We obviously have a grind, but it's really in our hands. About nine games left in the year [are] against our division, so we have to put ourselves in a good position. ... Obviously we have a great team, a lot of guys that know how to win, so it's exciting to know that we're right there. We're excited about this last month."
Reflecting on his seven years in New York, Chamberlain said the ups and downs -- for example, bouncing back and forth from starter to reliever and suffering a serious ankle injury in 2012 while playing with his son on a trampoline -- have taught him some valuable lessons.
"I've kind of been through everything -- on the field, off the field," he said. "No matter what I've done, I've been able to take something from everything. It teaches you patience, it teaches you to continue to focus on the little things to get those things right.
"I'm obviously 27, I've had a good career so far and have been through probably more than a lot of people. I'm just excited to continue to be in this game and continue to get better. Obviously being healthy is a big part of it and I've stayed on the field most of the year this year. That was a huge goal for me. I'm just excited to get better and to mature as a man, and as a pitcher and as a teammate."
Chamberlain has spent his entire career in New York and said he hasn't given much thought to his upcoming free agency.
"I just try to focus on what I can get done today. I can't really focus on what's going to happen down the road," he said. "I've just got to continue to get my work done, and try to help us win and get to where we want to be. ... Everything else will take care of itself."