Joba Chamberlain insists the velocity never really went away.

What disappeared was the consistency in mechanics, as Chamberlain’s hands drifted from near the center of his body. The Yankees’ reliever has put his hands back near his belt this spring, and the lesser movement has proven to be more effective. He needed just nine pitches to finish the eighth inning Tuesday, marking his sixth consecutive scoreless relief appearance and 13th overall this year.

“It never left,” Chamberlain said of the velocity before last night’s late game with the Royals. “My hands were always kind of bouncing and traveling. ... I don’t know what happened [to my hand placement] in the whole process of the last four years. It’s just coming back up.”

Chamberlain’s outing in Tuesday’s win appeared to have that “wow effect” that surrounded his August 2007 arrival. He struck out Melky Cabrera looking on a 96 mph fastball and then blew three pitches clocked at 96, 97 and 98 past Alex Gordon, who never removed the bat from his shoulders.

“You have to throw strikes,” said Chamberlain, who is 2-0 with a 0.88 WHIP. “I don’t care how hard you throw, guys in this league will make you pay.”