TAMPA, Fla. -- There is a puffy violet scar on Joba Chamberlain's right elbow, peeking out from underneath a shredded long-sleeve T-shirt, and it serves as a daily reminder of how his 2011 season ended.

But as Chamberlain follows his road back from the Tommy John surgery he had performed in June, the Yankees reliever said that he has been able to look back and appreciate that setback in a positive light.

"This injury was the greatest thing that could ever happen to me -- I was able to see my son's first day of school," Chamberlain said on Friday.

"There's no amount of money or world championships that can compare to watching my [Karter] walk into school for the first time. I wouldn't have been able to do that if it wasn't for this surgery. That, I'm very thankful for."

It's safe to say that when an MRI examination revealed Chamberlain's torn elbow ligament, he wasn't quite so chipper. But Chamberlain has experienced no issues as he progresses, and the Yankees will have him throwing 35 pitches from a half-mound three times next week.

"I've been very blessed to not have anything go wrong," Chamberlain said. "I've got to give credit to Dr. [James] Andrews and his staff. I moved down to Pensacola [Fla.] and they challenged me every day with something different. I can't thank them enough for what they did for me."

Chamberlain lived in Pensacola from September to December and said that it was a refreshing change. While there, he said that he rehabbed with a wide variety of athletes, from pro football players to high school soccer players and weekend warriors.

"It was fun for me because I got to see a different dynamic," Chamberlain said. "When you're getting treatment, it's always your teammates and your friends. It's something you get used to. It was nice to get away from the environment, just chill out and get my work in."

Pineda hard to miss at Yankees camp

TAMPA, Fla. -- Michael Pineda's towering figure can be spotted from a baseball field away, leaving no question as to the identity of the hulking right-hander firing in a far-off bullpen.

But it's a physique that is still a work in progress. The 23-year-old Pineda acknowledged on Friday that he wants to be about 10 pounds lighter by the time the Yankees head north.

"I need to lose weight," the 6-foot-7 Pineda said, chuckling. "It's Spring Training, but in the season, I feel comfortable at 270. It's [only] 10 pounds, so I feel good."

Acquired from the Mariners last month in a four-player swap that sent catcher Jesus Montero and right-hander Hector Noesi out to Seattle, Pineda threw his first bullpen session of camp on Friday under the watch of pitching coach Larry Rothschild, tossing to catcher Francisco Cervelli.

"I threw a pretty good bullpen today," Pineda said. "I feel comfortable here."

Pineda said that he and Rothschild have discussed grips for his developing changeup, which the Yankees want to see incorporated along with his high-octane fastball and biting slider. With Seattle last year, Pineda was largely a two-pitch pitcher.

The Yankees have committed that Pineda will be in their starting rotation to begin the season, though he likely won't be the No. 2 starter -- that task might fall to Ivan Nova, a 16-game winner last year. No matter: Pineda said he is looking forward to calling New York home and exploring the big city.

"I'm excited," Pineda said. "When I was a little guy, I'd say, 'I want to go to New York.' Last year, when Seattle played New York, it was my first time. I said, 'Oh my God, it's unbelievable, staying in New York right now.' There's a lot of people, and I'm single."

Nova looking to build off successful 2011

TAMPA, Fla. -- Ivan Nova reported for Spring Training last year with a demand ringing in his ears. His family wanted to see at least 10 victories from the Yankees right-hander, and it was a goal he'd exceed by six.

So what can Nova do for an encore? Plenty, but he isn't about to put any limits on his season.

"I just want to be ready and just go out there and do my job," Nova said. "I don't have numbers in mind right now. It's good to start Spring Training now, and hopefully we can have a really good season again."

Completely healthy after suffering a right forearm strain in the decisive Game 5 of the 2011 American League Division Series against Detroit, Nova said that he wants to work on his changeup, noting that it could help him avoid a slow start to his season.

"It wasn't too good last year," Nova said. "I've got to make it better."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi has not set his rotation beyond announcing that CC Sabathia will start Opening Day, but Nova figures to compete for the No. 2 slot with veteran Hiroki Kuroda. Nova said he won't get caught up in that.

"Like I always say, I just want to be in the rotation," Nova said. "That's what I want to do. I don't mind if I'm number one, two, three, four, five. I don't care. I just want to be in the rotation and I want to win games."

Nova said that he is getting to know right-hander Michael Pineda, who lives about 25 minutes from Nova's home in the Dominican Republic, and also lauded the signing of free agent Kuroda.

"We've got two new guys and I know they're going to help the team a lot," Nova said. "I hope we can win the World Series this year."