An enthusiastic and noticeably thinner Joba Chamberlain joined the Yankees for their homestand and said he had “butterflies” just getting back to the ballpark. He shared his optimism throughout the chat with reporters, saying, “My arm feels better than it ever has.”
Of course, of greater concern is the open dislocation in Chamberlain’s right ankle. His elbow had been well on the road to recovery before the gruesome ankle injury, but progress has continued on both fronts. The right-hander made 50 throws this afternoon and said he has continued to throw throughout recovery from his most recent injury. He only stopped throwing bullpens.
“It feels great,” he said. “It feels like nothing happened, which is good. You just want to continue to keep that strong, keep that healthy, and take some worry off my mind as far as getting my ankle ready.”
Chamberlain had been on crutches but has recently switched to a boot for his right ankle. He is able to remove the boot at home and said one of the most challenging steps has been learning to walk like normal again. But the recovery has obviously been steady. Chamberlain saw the doctor yesterday and joked that it was the first time he received positive news. He hopes to have the boot removed for good after another week.
“It’s just one of those things where I’m very fortunate compared to what it looked like five weeks ago,” he said.
Despite his optimism, Chamberlain has not set a timetable for his return. He has remained true, and said he will work with the intention of pitching again this year.
Joe Girardi said, “I think it’s possible,” but added that he would consider Chamberlain’s return “a bonus.”
Here’s audio from today…
Of note: Chamberlain looked thinner, which was especially surprising for a guy whose spent several weeks either in crutches or hobbling around in a boot. He said he has watched his diet closely but didn’t seem interested in discussing the topic in depth.
“More than a couple,” he said when asked about dropping weight. “Obviously, I look different, so that’s what I can tell you guys.”
• Despite not wanting to dissect it and perhaps disrupt his mojo, Derek Jeter talked extensively about his hot start, which now has him batting .420 entering tonight’s game.
Girardi explained Jeter’s success simply: “He’s just being Derek. He’s not ready yet to not be Derek.”
• Andy Pettitte will pitch Monday for Trenton, which is scheduled to play in Portland (Maine). He will throw about 95 pitches after exceeding 80 in his last outing.
• Girardi on why Alex Rodriguez will DH tonight: “We have a day game tomorrow. I’ll probably play him throughout for a while and maybe DH someone else. It’s just with the turnaround a little bit shorter.”
• Brett Gardner (elbow) was scheduled to bunt this afternoon. He will see the doctor for a checkup this evening.
• Justin Verlander is making his fourth start at Yankee Stadium. He is 4-3 with a 3.97 ERA in 10 career starts against the Yankees but just 0-2 with a 4.00 ERA in 18 innings here.
Girardi said the key is to attack Verlander early before he gets into a rhythm.
“He’s effectiveness is he’s got four plus-pitches,” Girardi said. “His fastball can be anywhere from probably 92, 93 to 100 miles per hour with movement. It seems like when he struggles it’s early in the game. If you get those opportunities, you cannot miss them. Once he seems to find his rhythm, he can be very, very good.”
Here’s the full audio of Girardi discussing Moose Skowron, Verlander, A-Rod, Gardner, Joba and a whole lot of Jeter…