Yankees Need Joba Chamberlain to Be in Shape to Further Solidify Improved Bullpen

Editor's note: Every Saturday, NESN.com Red Sox reporter Tony Lee will look at Boston's competition in the AL East.

Joba Chamberlain's general manager has already stated in an extremely succinct manner that Chamberlain is not so fit and that he is no lock to make the roster. It's a bad case of timing for the big righty. Although the Yankees once had Chamberlain targeted for a more prominent role than a seventh- or eighth-inning guy, he seemed to rediscover his groove in the job last year.

To be fair, Chamberlain has been moved from role to role more than he would like. Quietly, he got past it to become a more steady option out of the bullpen for manager Joe Girardi in 2010. He was 2-0 with a 2.88 ERA and a 1.078 WHIP in the second half of the season, striking out 37 and walking only eight in 34 1/3 innings.

With the acquisition of Rafael Soriano and the seeming stability of Chamberlain, the Yankees figured to have a fantastic back end to their bullpen. If the Kevin Youkilis' favorite pitcher is indeed out of shape, that could be an issue.

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