One nice thing about Twitter: Every now and then it answers a question before the question is asked. Today, Joba Chamberlain provided an unsolicited update on his Tommy John rehab.
60 ft 50 throws today! Went great. 1 step closer to getting back on the bump! Thanks for all the support
Just in case you need a translation: That’s 50 throws from 60 feet. The last time I remember talking to Chamberlain was a little less than a month ago, and he had just started making 30 throws from 30 feet. Building the arm strength is a process, and Chamberlain’s going through it.
But so far, so good, and that should mean he’s still ahead of schedule. He’s expecting to throw off a mound by spring training. If he’s able to pitch in a game soon after that, then the bulk of the Yankees 2012 bullpen might be in place, with plenty of options for the late innings.
Closer: Mariano Rivera
Setup: Dave Robertson
Setup: Rafael Soriano
Setup: Joba Chamberlain
Lefty: Boone Logan
Middle: Cory Wade
Long: Hector Noesi (or any number of veteran free agents or upper-level prospects)
If you’re the Yankees, and you knew you’d have that bullpen on June 1, wouldn’t you sign up for that? Sign a veteran lefty or an experienced long reliever/spot starter to audition until Chamberlain is healthy, then adjust accordingly.
Assuming Soriano doesn’t opt out — hard to believe he will given his injury shortened regular season — the bullpen shouldn’t be a massive priority this winter. Add some pieces for spring training depth (see: Ayala, Luis) and call it a day.
Associated Press photo