Brian Cashman said this morning regardless of what opinions are offered elsewhere, no determination on Joba Chamberlain’s future – both this year and in 2011 – has been made.

“He’s a starter that can relieve and that’s where he’s probably going to be at right now,” Cashman said this morning in the clubhouse. “But if you wanted to play the hypothetical game, what if this happened? What if that happened? What if you lose a guy to free agency, retirement, injury and your rotation looks all different, who are your choices? Does that mean you can’t think about going back? It doesn’t mean you can’t. Right now though, where he’s slotted is to help us at the major league level is out of the pen, unless we have injuries.”

Director of pro scouting Billy Eppler started the latest Joba, let’s call it an “issue” rather than “controversy,” early Saturday evening during an interview on WFAN. Asked about Chamberlain starting at some point this year, Eppler said: “I don't foresee a situation where he would be starting at all."

Asked if Chamberlain would be competing for a rotation spot next season, Eppler replied: “I wouldn't consider that likely, no.”

Cashman said, like on the outside where there’s plenty of opinions regarding Chamberlain, the same is true within the organization. He said in this case Eppler was simply expressing his opinion and that the organization hasn’t reached any decisions regarding Chamberlain beyond the here-and-now.

And, yes, Cashman said he’s fine with Eppler speaking his opinions openly.

“Billy’s good, he’s good, he’s been an asset and he’s going to continue be an asset,” Cashman said. “But this is also a good growth spurt.”

Cashman smiled when he said the latter, meaning Eppler talking to the press and seeing what he says become a story.  

“He’s going to be something special in this game so I’m glad you guys have access to him to give an opinion,” Cashman said. “Although at times maybe I might disagree with his opinion, he makes us better and I want him to be out there talking to you guys as much as he can. I don’t want him to shy away from his opinion. I support that opinion although maybe I disagree with a variance of what he said, I want him to speak and I want him to speak to you guys. So he’ll be doing radio interviews, he’ll talk to you guys, it’s all cool. Because he’s really good at what he does.”

*** On a completely unrelated note, though it does involve a relief pitcher or at least a former one, Jeff Nelson will be making his comedy club debut tonight at Comix on 12 Angry Mascots, New York’s only sports comedy variety talk show.

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Comix is at 353 W. 14th St, just east of 9th Ave. These guys did a thing with Kerry Rhodes of the Jets and have had other athletes on and it's always an entertaining show. I know it’s last notice, but if check it out if you have a chance.

A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit the New York Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation