TAMPA, Fla. -- He had made it through running drills, fielding drills and bullpen sessions. The final test for reliever David Robertson and his bruised right foot was to get back on the mound in a game.
Robertson, who suffered the injury when he missed a step while walking down the stairs on March 7, hadn't pitched in a game since March 5. The right-hander appeared to pass Sunday's test with flying colors, tossing a scoreless eighth inning against the Tigers.
"I feel good," Robertson said. "I think it was a little better outing. I gave up a hit, but I felt my fastball control was a little better. I wasn't too erratic. Hopefully, I can build off that one and go into the next outing."
Robertson threw just 11 pitches in the inning, so he went to the bullpen for 10 more. There, he worked on commanding his curveball, the one thing that he felt eluded him in his inning of work. Most importantly, Robertson's foot felt fine, and he believes there's more than enough time to be ready for Opening Day.
"Hopefully, I can get two or three more outings in and really fine-tune my mechanics and get really comfortable when I'm ready to go in a game," Robertson said. "I should be able to do it in three outings."
"He looked fine to me," manager Joe Girardi said. "That's kind of a sigh of relief. I was encouraged that he said he didn't feel anything in his foot. Obviously, I'll wait until Tuesday to see what he says. There's still in the back of me that little bit of concern. But he hasn't had any issues for a week or so, so I hope we're through it."
Cashman hopeful as Joba leaves hospital
TAMPA, Fla. -- After dealing with an injury as severe as Joba Chamberlain's open right ankle disclocation, it would be understandable if a dirge was playing at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Sunday. Instead, the mood remained relatively upbeat.
Chamberlain was released from St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa on Sunday after undergoing surgery on Thursday to repair the open dislocation suffered in a trampoline accident. Chamberlain, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, still has a long road ahead, but on Sunday, general manager Brian Cashman echoed the optimism that manager Joe Girardi voiced on Saturday.
"There's a limit of what we can give in terms of absolutes, and there's a spectrum of risk to optimism," Cashman said. "We're not in the position to give absolutes [that] this is going to be a definite one way or the other. So far, he's been in great hands. He's been getting everything necessary. Things are going as good as can be expected, as I understand it, which is obviously terrific. Hopefully, it continues that way."
Chamberlain will be in a non-weight-bearing cast for six weeks, and he'll be in a weight-bearing boot after that. In the meantime, Chamberlain will continue to receive treatment to make sure there's no infection.
"I think there is risk, but as every day goes by, it gets reduced," Cashman said. "I also think that's why they'll continue to monitor it, to clean the wound, all those different things."
Given the severity of the injury, the Yankees' first concern was to make sure Chamberlain would be fine off the baseball field. With that hurdle cleared -- assuming there aren't complications -- the focus could turn to allowing Chamberlain to return to baseball, and there remained hope that he'd be able to make his way back to the mound, both from the elbow surgery and this most recent injury, this season.
"You know Joba -- obviously, he's been dealing with a lot," Cashman said. "But he's a healer. He gets hurt, but his healing process is really significant. I'm counting on that in this case, too. That's why my gut tells me he's going to be OK. I hope I'm right on that."
When Cashman visited Chamberlain in the hospital, he saw a somewhat dejected pitcher, a difference from the right-hander's typically ebullient personality. At the same time, Cashman reported that Chamberlain was determined and grateful for the support he's received over the past couple of days.
"[He's] down, but he's got perspective at the same time," Cashman said. "I think he's frustrated, but at the same time, he's a man and he knows what the road ahead is. He's not afraid of it. I think his attitude, and I hate to speak for him, is, 'What do I need to do to get back?'
"He knows there's a lot of people who care about him, both here, his family and obviously fan-wise. He's received a lot of concerns, well-wishes and prayers. I know for that he's thankful. He told me to tell everybody, 'Thanks for praying for me.' That stuff helps."
Calf better, Jeter aims for comfort at plate
TAMPA, Fla. -- Sunday was the next test for Derek Jeter and his left calf. It was a successful day for the shortstop offensively, as he picked up his first two extra-base hits of the season, including a leadoff homer in the bottom of the first inning of the Yankees' 1-1 tie with the Tigers in 10 innings. The only problem with homering, of course, is that Jeter didn't have to test out his calf.
"My leg is fine," Jeter said. "I haven't run hard, though. I haven't had to. I felt good today, but you want to feel good pretty much the last week, going into the season. But I'm making progress. I'm happy where I am."
Jeter hadn't played since March 14 because of the calf issue, remaining out of the lineup until Friday, when he went 1-for-2. Even without the long ball, it was by design that Jeter wasn't going to go all out just yet.
"I told him today, 'I'm probably not going to ask you to run,'" manager Joe Girardi said. "'I'm just going to let you get your at-bats and play.' As we get closer to the end, it's a different story, but we still have time and I'll still continue to be cautious with him, just to make sure we are through it. I felt good about today. I thought he moved better today."
Both the manager and the veteran shortstop fully understand it's more important to look at the big picture and have Jeter at full strength for the start of the regular season -- not only in terms of his legs, but at the plate. Jeter now has 23 at-bats this spring and felt good about Friday's performance in terms of how well he was seeing the ball, which he considers most important of all.
"I think it's more that you want to be sure you're seeing the ball good," Jeter said. "Yeah, you want to hit it hard, but you don't really concern yourself with how many hits you get. You just want to have good at-bats. It's more of a feel thing. You'd like to, ideally, be seeing the ball good these last couple of weeks."
Alex Rodriguez departed after his plate appearance in the seventh inning of Sunday's game upon being drilled in the left ribs by a fastball from Tigers right-hander Brayan Villarreal. Rodriguez's side was examined, and there is not expected to be any lasting effect. Girardi expected A-Rod to be ready on Tuesday against the Blue Jays.
Girardi was hopeful that Nick Swisher, who's sidelined with a sore right groin muscle and has had just one at-bat since March 14, will be ready to play on Tuesday. The Yankees plan to give the outfielder one or two at-bats and see how his body responds.
Following Sunday's game, the Yankees optioned infielder Ramiro Pena to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and reassigned outfielders Colin Curtis and Cole Garner, catcher Jose Gil and right-handers Manny Delcarmen and Kevin Whelan to Minor League camp.