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08/21/12 8:35 PM ET

Joba not discouraged by rust since return

CHICAGO -- The Yankees have tried to ease Joba Chamberlain back into duty as a big league reliever, but keeping the right-hander out of tight situations has proven more challenging than expected.

"We tried to stay away from him, that's the bottom line," manager Joe Girardi said. "At times, you're not going to be able to. At times, you're forced into situations and it's usually when you don't get the distance from your starter that you need."

The early results from Chamberlain, who missed 14 months following Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and an open dislocation of his right ankle, have not been pretty. Chamberlain has a 9.45 ERA in seven appearances for New York this season and has permitted 15 hits and four walks in 6 2/3 innings, posting a 2.85 WHIP.

"I knew I needed to stay focused to get back to where I needed to be -- that was it," Chamberlain said. "Obviously, this isn't the way I wanted things to go, but if things were perfect after I got done with surgery, I would've gone, 'This is easy.' But it's not that way. These guys are good. They're in the big leagues for a reason, and you've got to figure out a way to get better."

Girardi said that he believes Chamberlain is struggling with his command after undergoing the elbow surgery, but he believes Chamberlain's stuff is good enough to get big league hitters out. Chamberlain is also encouraged by that.

"If I was throwing 90 mph, we would have a concern," Chamberlain said. "My slider is 86-88, right where it should be. My fastball is at 95. You know it's there; now, it's just trying to figure out what in the delivery or what we can do to change things or work on in between and go from there."

It is possible the Yankees could consider optioning Chamberlain to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre when CC Sabathia is activated from the disabled list for a likely start on Friday, then recall the reliever after rosters expand to 40 players on Sept. 1, but Girardi said those discussions have not taken place.

Pettitte leaves door open for return in 2013

CHICAGO -- A one-hop ground ball fractured Andy Pettitte's left fibula and interrupted his storybook return to the Yankees, and the left-hander doesn't want to rule out the suggestion that he could try it all again in 2013.

"It seemed like things don't work out like you envision them in life," Pettitte said. "I figured coming in here, I'd pitch this year and fully exhaust myself of whatever I had left in me, as far as for baseball or whatever. And as of this moment right now, I want to pitch more right now than I did when I first came to the big leagues."

Pettitte said that he is "extremely happy" with his decision to come out of retirement, despite the injury that has kept him sidelined since June 27, and he figures to have another very familiar discussion back home in Deer Park, Texas, after the season.

"I mean, I'll go home again and talk to my family about it and pray about it," Pettitte said. "Really, I'll do what I feel like is the right thing to do. I really can't tell you right now that there's no way I'm going to play."

Yet next season still seems too far off for Pettitte, who is itching to contribute to the 2012 Yankees. Pettitte is currently throwing on flat ground, and while doctors are recommending that he proceeds conservatively after his ankle swelled following workouts last month in Seattle, the Yankees expect him to return in September.

"[The goal of] coming back here was to try to help us win another championship, and I still have an opportunity to do that," Pettitte said. "The light at the end of the tunnel for me with all this is to try to get healthy, get back, get myself prepared so I can help us get to the postseason."

CC in line to start Friday after painless session

CHICAGO -- Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia came through his normal bullpen session without discomfort on Tuesday and expects to return from the disabled list to start on Friday against the Indians in Cleveland.

Sabathia said that he went through his full 38-pitch preparation, including breaking balls, and his left elbow did not give him any problems.

"It's a big relief that I can go out and throw all my pitches and not be hindered by anything, or feel like I can't throw [a] pitch because it might hurt," Sabathia said. "I have none of that, and today just confirmed that. I feel good about going out there on Friday."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi wants to see how Sabathia bounces back after his bullpen session but said "it's pretty likely" that Sabathia will be starting on Friday at Progressive Field.

"That's real encouraging, and the fact he threw a light bullpen on Saturday and didn't feel anything Sunday or Monday is encouraging as well," Girardi said.

Sabathia said that he did not expect to have any limitations in that start, but Girardi said he might truncate the ace's pitch count slightly.

"Let's just watch the game," Girardi said. "I probably wouldn't let him go 115 [pitches], but I don't think it's inconceivable that we would throw him 100 pitches, 95 pitches."

Sabathia speculates that the inflammation in his left elbow came from "wear and tear over the years," and he continues to work with head athletic trainer Steve Donohue on treatment plans.

But Sabathia said that the stint on the disabled list, his second of the season, won't force him to be more cautious with his innings load moving forward.

"How do you do that? You keep going," Sabathia said. "Every time I get a chance to get the ball, I'm going to try to go as deep in the game as possible. It's just one of those things. There's nothing you can really do about it."

Pettitte sees Clemens as 'ultimate competitor'

CHICAGO -- Count Andy Pettitte among those who didn't bat an eye at the news of Roger Clemens' decision to try his luck against professional hitters this weekend.

"I guess you'd say it kind of surprises you, but I guess it doesn't with him," Pettitte said. "He's just the ultimate competitor. I know he loves to compete, and I wish him nothing but the best."

Clemens, 50, has signed with the independent Sugar Lake Skeeters and will start on Saturday. In a news conference on Tuesday, Clemens -- who hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2007 with the Yankees -- said that he doesn't consider himself Major League-ready.

Still, Pettitte isn't quite sure that the Rocket wouldn't try to relaunch his big league career if Saturday's effort goes well for the seven-time Cy Young Award winner.

"I don't know," Pettitte said. "I guess you'd think, 'Why do it unless you're trying to?' I'm not real sure, to tell you the truth. But if he's trying to, if anybody could do it, he's definitely somebody that could pull it off, probably."

Pettitte and Clemens, of course, were once close friends and workout partners during their Yankees years together. Their relationship has been viewed in a different light since Clemens' federal perjury trial, which ended with an acquittal in June.

Bombers bits

• With his 251st career home run on Monday against the White Sox, Derek Jeter claimed sole possession of ninth place on the Yankees' franchise list, surpassing Graig Nettles (250). Jeter's close friend, Jorge Posada, is next with 275.

• On this date in 1988, the Yankees dedicated Monument Park plaques to former catchers Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.