BOSTON -- Before this season is over, Joe Girardi said, the Yankees will need some "big innings" from Joba Chamberlain.

But asked if he can afford to use the struggling righthander in those high-leverage situations, Girardi didn't exactly answer.

"We're probably going to need some, so he's going to have to get it done," he said.

It's been some time since Chamberlain, who has a 4.83 ERA in 34 appearances this season, has seen important innings. He's mostly been relegated to situations like the one he was brought into Friday -- the bottom of the ninth inning with the Yankees leading 10-3. And he couldn't make it through the inning, as he was replaced by lefty David Huff with the bases loaded and two outs.

"He's been up and down," Girardi said in summarizing Chamberlain's year. It likely will be his last with the club, as Chamberlain will be a free agent after the season.

Girardi said that although he is healthy, Chamberlain hasn't been the same since spending April 28-May 27 on the disabled list with a right oblique strain.

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"I thought he threw the ball pretty well before he got hurt and then I think it's been up and down for him since he came back," Girardi said. "Rib-cage muscles can be tough to recover from. It can be something where you don't necessary feel it but the strength is not necessarily what it has been. But we need some big innings out of this guy."

Girardi said he hasn't noticed a lack of confidence in Chamberlain. "If he is , he doesn't show it," he said. "But when you go through tough times, everyone thinks about it. It's impossible not to. It's human nature. But I haven't seen it affect his personality."


A-Rod not fatigued yetGirardi said he checks with Alex Rodriguez, who started at third base Saturday after a long day/night Friday, on a daily basis but hasn't seen a reason to rest the 38-year-old.

"I've been pleased," Girardi said. "I've kept in contact with him. I think he talked a little bit about being fresh because he doesn't have a lot of games under his belt. We need him to stay that way, so I'll continue to talk to him."


Soriano still hotAlfonso Soriano singled in his first two at-bats Saturday to extend his streak to 15-for-20. He was retired in his next two at-bats.

"It's hard to explain hitters," Girardi said of Soriano's initial cold start with the Yankees after joining them July 26. "To me, it's been pitch selection, what he was swinging at. Whether he was overanxious about being a Yankee or overanxious about the 2,000 [career hits], none of us really know, but that's what's changed for me."

Soriano reached 2,000 hits last Sunday when he homered against Detroit.


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Extra basesGirardi didn't have an update on Derek Jeter, but word from Tampa was that the shortstop, on the DL with a right calf strain, worked out a second straight day at the team's minor-league complex Saturday. Jeter, who returned to Tampa on Thursday night, took batting practice and fielded grounders but has not run, an indication that his recovery is going slowly . . . Michael Pineda, shut down nearly three weeks ago with shoulder stiffness, played catch a second straight day at the complex, long-tossing up to 120 feet.