Joba throws for first time since injury
Girardi not ruling out return to 'pen for young right-hander
NEW YORK -- Joba Chamberlain threw 25 times at a distance of 65 feet on Friday, playing catch for the first time since he exited an Aug. 4 start at Texas with right rotator cuff tendinitis.
"It was very good," Chamberlain said. "I got loose at the end. After eight days, when you get out there and throw, you're still kind of leery. But everything went well."
Chamberlain said that he is scheduled to play catch again on Saturday on the field at Yankee Stadium. He plans to throw at the same distance as he did Friday. Chamberlain will try to add a little more zip on his tosses, and if all progresses well, throwing off a mound could occur as soon as early next week.
"It's going to come along quick," Chamberlain said. "I've got to take it day-by-day. It's just how it reacts and how quickly it comes back from not throwing for eight days."
Chamberlain said that he expects to pitch again this season and that his workload will come out of the Yankees' rotation, not the bullpen, where he opened the season. Chamberlain made his first start on June 3 and was 3-1 with a 2.76 ERA in 12 starts, including seven scoreless innings of three-hit ball on July 25 at Boston, where he outdueled Josh Beckett. Overall, he is 4-3 with a 2.63 ERA in 32 games.
"It's no different. I'm just going to go out and try to build off what I did before I got hurt," Chamberlain said.
Since dealing right-hander Kyle Farnsworth to the Tigers on July 30 for catcher Ivan Rodriguez, the eighth inning leading to closer Mariano Rivera has been less stable, and reinserting Chamberlain could help fix that issue by offering a high-octane arm that has struck out 104 and walked 36 in 89 innings.
The New York Post reported on Friday that the Yankees have discussed restoring Chamberlain to his eighth-inning relief role, but manager Joe Girardi said that no final decision has been reached.
"We haven't had a chance to discuss that," Girardi said. "The first thing we have to talk about is getting him healthy. We've said that we've always envisioned him as a big league starter. The first thing we'll try to do is see how his rehab goes, and then we'll make the decisions."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.