NEW YORK - Alex Rodriguez is back and Joba Chamberlain will join the starting rotation. The New York Yankees plan to look much different down the road than they have early this season.
Rodriguez hit two balls over the fence but was credited with only one home run, and New York began the process of making Chamberlain a starter during Wednesday night’s 8-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
“We have a good offense. We’re very confident. Our goal is to dominate every night,” Rodriguez said.
Darrell Rasner won his third straight start since he was called up from the minors and New York banged out 13 hits while snapping a four-game skid with its third shutout this year. The Yankees had lost six of seven, scoring only 14 runs during that span.
Chamberlain tossed two innings to complete the six-hitter, beginning the club’s process of stretching him out so he can become a starting pitcher sometime this season.
“I’m excited,” said the 22-year-old Chamberlain, a stellar setup man since he was called up from the minors last August. “I have zero question marks.”
General manager Brian Cashman wouldn’t divulge many details about the plan, such as how often Chamberlain will pitch, when he will join the rotation and whether he could be sent to the minors for a few starts first.
But Cashman did say he asked Chamberlain what role he preferred, and the right-hander said he’d like an opportunity to start this season. Cashman said the Yankees targeted a particular portion of their schedule when they want Chamberlain in the rotation, and to achieve that he needs to begin the transformation now.
“We’re going back to the purpose that we drafted him and the projection that we had for him,” Cashman said. “This was a road we planned on taking. Now it’s time to take it.”
On offense, Rodriguez’s return from the disabled list has provided an immediate boost. He homered in his first game back Tuesday night, a 12-2 loss, and finished with a home run and two doubles in this one.
“I feel fresh. I feel like opening day,” Rodriguez said.
The three-time MVP connected off Garrett Olson (3-1) to start the third, then hit another ball over the wall in the sixth that was incorrectly called an RBI double.
It was the latest in a string of home run calls that have been blown by big league umpires lately, including one at Yankee Stadium on Sunday night. That’s left some calling for instant replay in baseball.
This ruling didn’t end up costing the Yankees, it just left A-Rod flipping his helmet at second base and shaking his head in disbelief.
“We made a mistake,” second base umpire and crew chief Tim Welke said after seeing the television replay. “We want to be perfect. We weren’t perfect tonight.”
Working on 10 days’ rest, Rasner (3-0) pitched five-hit ball while setting career highs for innings (seven) and strikeouts (six). He walked one and lowered his ERA to 1.89.
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