First pitch: What to do about Joba

Joba Chamberlain pitched for the first time in nine days yesterday.

The results weren't as bad as his previous outings this year -- he gave up a hit on a catchable ball, hit a batter and struck out one in 2/3 of an inning.

At this point, for Chamberlain, that's got to be considered a step in the right direction.

He admitted as much while speaking to reporters after the game.

"I have to continue to get out there to prove to them and prove to my teammates and everybody else that (my) ability is there to get people out," Chamberlain said. "Obviously, it hasn't been great. But this is obviously a start. I wish the ending could have been a little different (the Yanks lost, 8-5) but there's something we can take from each of these and continue to get better."

But does Joba truly have a role in this Yankees bullpen? Can he pitch his way into one?

Chamberlain's coming off an injury-riddled 12 months. He's undergone Tommy John surgery and an appendectomy, dislocated his right ankle and torn his right MCL over the past year. Prior to this season, he last pitched on June 5, 2011.

Since returning from the disabled list on Aug. 1, he's allowed 16 hits and seven runs (two HR) in 7 1/3 innings. Joe Girardi said earlier this week that he wanted to get Chamberlain into low pressure situations. But with the Yankees' lead in the AL East dwindling by the day, just how many low pressure situations will come up over the final 32 games of the season?

And if Chamberlain can't find enough work in such situations, does he have any value to the Yankees bullpen?

Which brings us to our question: If you were Girardi, how would you use Chamberlain the rest of the way?

Up Now: Ian O'Connor looks at CC Sabathia and the impact of games the Yanks lose when he's on the mound; Wallace Matthews writes about the Yankees' failure with runners in scoring position and I have stories on the Yanks' fielding woes and their interaction with the Ugandan Little League World Series team.

On Deck: The Yanks are off today, but Matthews will have a story on the aging Yanks' big weekend series against Baltimore. Hiroki Kuroda (12-9. 2.98) faces RHP Miguel Gonzalez (5-3, 3.66) in the opener.