The New York Yankees‘ roster has been ravaged by injuries so far this season and Joba Chamberlain joined the long list of wounded Bombers when he was placed on the 15-day DL on May 2nd.
The Yankees called up 25 year-old right-hander Preston Claiborne to replace Joba’s arm in the bullpen and in a corresponding move, the team designated Cody Eppley for assignment to make room for Claiborne on the 40-man roster.
Due to Chamberlain’s DL stay being retroactive to April 28th, there is a good chance that he could be back with the team by next Monday (May 13th). Meaning that Claiborne would have to really make some noise during the next week or so in order to have any chance of staying in the big leagues.
Claiborne has been a very reliable pitcher for the Yankees Triple-A affiliate over the past year but hasn’t exactly been lights out, which is obvious when you look at his 3.92 ERA in 43.2 AAA innings. He does know how to strike men out though, which explains why he has 199 strikeouts in his 204.1 professional innings.
He has been a reliever throughout his career in minors but does have the ability to give the team some length out of the pen with the occasional 2-3 inning outing. Meaning that he’ll most likely see the middle innings of games rather than any late inning pressure situations. He does have experience pitching in pressure situations though as he was serving as the closer for the Triple-A Rail Riders this season prior to his call up.
Claiborne also possesses a pretty live arm as he has regularly been clocked in the mid-90s with his fastball, something that usually can help a young guy when he enters the majors.
Basically, the Yankees shouldn’t be expecting Claiborne to come up and have a 2007 Joba Chamberlain-like impact, but he should be able to handle his role extremely well.
UPDATE: Claiborne pitched two scoreless innings for the Yankees today and threw the ball effectively and accurately. A nice debut for the 25-year-old righty.
Chris Ronca is a New York Yankees writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter; @ChrisRonca.