After meetings, Steinbrenner says Chamberlain likely to join rotation in '09

TAMPA, Fla. -- Hank Steinbrenner says Joba Chamberlain likely will return to the New York Yankees' rotation at the beginning of the 2009 season.

"The plan as of right now is Chamberlain is going to be a starter," the Yankees co-chairman said Thursday after five hours of organizational meetings at the team's spring training complex. "Everybody's pretty much in agreement with that."

Chamberlain began this year in the bullpen, joined the rotation on June 3, then was sidelined after his Aug. 4 start because of rotator cuff tendinitis that caused him to go on the disabled list. When he returned Sept. 2, he went back to the bullpen.

Also attending the meetings was co-chairman Hal Steinbrenner, team president Randy Levine, chief operating officer Lonn Trost, general manager Brian Cashman, assistant general manager Jean Afterman, vice presidents Mark Newman, Gene Michael and Felix Lopez, and advisers Reggie Jackson and Tino Martinez.

"It was a productive day," Hank Steinbrenner said. "We didn't make any decisions today. We just covered all the things we need to fix. Everything is open. We're willing to do anything that will improve us. It was more of a summary and quite a lot of discussion."

The Yankees are thought to be interested in free-agent pitchers CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Ben Sheets, and first baseman Mark Teixeira. Exploring a trade for San Diego pitcher Jake Peavy is possible.

Andy Pettitte has said he is likely to return for next season. Mike Mussina isn't sure and the Yankees think he might retire.