LAKELAND, Fla. -- Joba Chamberlain's first relief outing since he was sent back to the bullpen was a bit of an adventure.
The result was just fine.Chamberlain allowed two hits and struck out one during a scoreless ninth inning, earning the save in the New York Yankees' 2-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday.It was his first game since manager Joe Girardi announced on Thursday that Phil Hughes had won the competition for the team's fifth starter spot, beating out Chamberlain and three other candidates."A lot of guys came in and worked hard, and we didn't make anybody's decision easy," Chamberlain said. "That was our goal as guys coming in. I'm excited about being able to get the opportunity to help this team. We'll go from there."Chamberlain is in the mix for the eighth-inning setup role before closer Mariano Rivera. The right-hander made 31 starts and one relief appearance during the regular season last year, but pitched out of the bullpen during the playoffs."I expect him to pitch important innings," Girardi said. "Where it is I can't tell you right now. I expect him to be in our bullpen."A.J. Burnett pitched 6 2/3 innings for the Yankees, yielding one run and three hits.Magglio Ordonez drove in Detroit's run with a two-out single in the third inning.Burnett said he lacked confidence in his curveball, leading him to rely primarily on his fastball. Girardi said that can be a good thing during spring training."I love it because you're not always going to have your 'A' stuff," he said. "And you've got to figure out a way to get hitters out, even when you don't have your 'A' stuff."Tigers starter Nate Robertson allowed two runs and five hits in five innings. The left-hander struck out five and walked one.Robertson is competing with Dontrelle Willis and Jeremy Bonderman for the last two spots in Detroit's rotation.Former Tigers Marcus Thames and Curtis Granderson did well against their old team. Thames homered in the fourth for New York, and Granderson had two hits and drove in a run.
The crowd of 10,219 was the largest ever at Joker Marchant Stadium, where the Tigers are 9-4 this spring. The Yankees improved to 3-9 on the road. ... LHP Andy Pettitte of the Yankees and Tigers RHP Max Scherzer will start Sunday's rematch.