Joba Chamberlain threw 40 pitches of live batting practice at the Yankees minor league complex today. He’ll throw a simulated game on Friday and expects to begin a rehab assignment sooner than later.
“I knew going into (the rehab process) what was expected, what it was gonna take,” Chamberlain said. “And I believed in myself being able to do it. It’s always nice when you have people doubt you. It gives you a little more reason to work. There was people who said I wasn’t going to pitch this year, or ever again. … But I can promise you I’m going to pitch. I can promise you that. You can write that down, too. Tell everybody. It’s going to happen.”
Chamberlain looked fit, and he sounded like his old selft, already giving Chad Qualls a hard time for his shaggy hair.
“I thought he looked really pretty good today,” Joe Girardi said. “I thought his location was good. I thought his breaking ball was good. He threw some changneups even. I was pleased.”
Ever since he sat in front of the media to discuss his spring training ankle injury, Chamberlain has insisted he would pitch this season. Now it seems close enough to think it’s going to happen, and Chamberalin believes he could be back in the big leagues before the end of this month. That said, he explained that he’s been given no exact rehab schedule. He just feels good and expects to continue this progress.
“I totally forgot I even had elbow surgery to be honest with you,” he said. “I guess you just hurt another body part and everything else goes away. But yeah, my elbow’s been great. We’ve had nothing there and we’ll just continue the maintenance on those two things and keep going.”
• Qualls showed up in the Yankees clubhouse about an hour ago. He said he shaved today, but his hair was pretty long and all over the place. He joked that he’s not even sure whether he shaved close enough to play for the Yankees, and he’s pretty sure the hair is going to have to be trimmed. “My wife’s probably only seen me shaved twice,” he said. “I think the first time, she told me, ‘Don’t ever to it again.’ But this time, I think she’s going to have to bear with me on this one.”
• Girardi made it clear that Rafael Soriano and Dave Robertson have control of the ninth and eighth innings and Qualls will slot into the mix-and-match group that’s been handling the middle innings. “Just another right-hander for us,” Girardi said. “Sinkerball guy that can get groundballs type of guy. He’s obviously pitched in some later innings in his career. We’ll use him and we’ll mix him in.”
• Qualls on his role: “I’ve been around a little while, so I know I can come in and get key outs in crucial situations, and help get the ball to Soriano in the 9th. I’m going to come in here, throw wherever Joe wants me to throw, and do my best.”
• The Yankees told Cory Wade to report to Triple-A and get his location problems sorted out. “Really difficult (conversation),” Girardi said. “It’s a guy that’s meant a lot to us over the last year. The last month has been a struggle for him and we talked about going down and getting your stuff right. He sucked it up for us the other day by giving us almost 60 pitches. Go down, get your stuff right and you’ll be helping us again.”
• After chipping a tooth yesterday, Raul Ibanez is flying to Tampa tonight and Girardi expects him to be available at some point today. As of right now, I haven’t seen him.
• Girardi came into this series having decided to give Russell Martin one game off. He decided to do it today after some hot games back home in New York.
• After a setback a few days ago, David Aardsma is undergoing additional tests on his surgically repaired elbow. Aardsma seemed to be moving quickly toward joining the Yankees, but he’s suffered a setback.
• CC Sabathia is supposed to play catch today. Might have already happened but I didn’t see it.
• Robinson Cano has been named the A.L. Player of the Week.
Associated Press photos