Joba ‘not a lock’ for roster spot

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said relief pitcher Joba Chamberlain was heading into spring training Tuesday without the guarantee of a 2011 roster place.

As pitchers and catchers get set Monday to report in Tampa, Cashman said the right-hander, who already endured four difficult years in New York, would remain a reliever — if selected.

"Anybody who has [minor league] options is not a lock for anything," the GM said Sunday. "Any player with options has to re-earn everything. You earn more or you earn less — New York or Scranton."

But Cashman added, "I fully expect Joba to be in our bullpen. If not, he would have worked his way out of it. We won’t decide — he will decide his role. Players always dictate [by their performances]."

Chamberlain, who lost out to Phil Hughes for a starting spot during 2010 spring training, was 3-4 during the past year, with three saves and a 4.40 ERA in 73 relief appearances.