It’s become part of the daily routine to ask Joe Girardi for updates on Brett Gardner and Dave Robertson. Today, he offered this bit of news from Tampa: Joba Chamberlain threw off a half mound today.
“I’m sure he can move around enough,” Girardi said. “I don’t think he’s at the stage where he’s sprinting yet, but he can move around well enough to do his bullpens, yeah. … I’ve always said, I believe that he’ll be back. Now, I’m no doctor, no rehab therapist, but just knowing Joba, I believe he’s going to be back for us this year.”
Girardi said Chamberlain is wearing a small brace on his ankle, something tiny that you or I could buy at Wal-Mart. It’s not “some crazy contraption.” Throwing a half mound today, does that mean Chamberlain is essentially at the beginning of a spring training schedule?
“It’s probably a little bit before, just because there’s some other hurdles he’s going to have to clear, and a pitcher wouldn’t normally come in and do a half mound early in spring training,” Girardi said. “I think his arm’s going to be fine. It’s going to come down to, can he tolerate the pounding that you go through as a pitcher? Having to cover the base. When you land as a pitcher. When you push off as a pitcher. Those are the hurdles he’s going to have to clear.
“… When it comes to a pain threshold, and a lot of things that I’ve seen this kid get through, there’s not many people that have done it. I look at what he went through with the Tommy John – and I have to question when he actually (tore the ligament). He probably pitched a game or two with it, he played long-toss with it. He just has that weird sense that he can do a lot of things that it takes people a little longer to do.”
• Gardner took batting practice inside again today. Girardi said he won’t start hitting on the field until next week.
• Robertson actually went ahead with plans to throw a bullpen today. Girardi wasn’t sure how many pitches, but he said it was a regular bullpen, meaning Robertson was throwing off a mound for the first time since straining his oblique. It seemed the Yankees would likely push that bullpen back a day after yesterday’s rain.
• David Aardsma is also down in Tampa throwing bullpens, but Girardi said he has no idea how close he is to being ready to come off the disabled list.
• With Steve Pearce sent to Baltimore, Russell Branyan has been added to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre roster.
• Girardi said it would have been a tough call about whether to leave Johan Santana in last night’s game for enough pitches to throw that no hitter. “Uh, terrible. Terrible,” Girardi said. “It is because here’s the thing that goes through your head. You don’t want to be the guy that ruins a guy’s chance of a no-hitter. But you also don’t want to be the guy that ruins a chance for your team in the postseason because you let a guy go too long and he ends up having to go on the DL for a month. Or worst case scenario, happen to have surgery. So, it’s terrible.”
• What would Girardi have done? Girardi paused for just a second… “I would have done what Terry did,” he said.
Associated Press photo of Chamberlain
Marc Carig gets the second photo credit