Joba Getting Prepared

Chamberlain threw a bullpen session on Tuesday

Joba Chamberlain, out for nearly a month with a hamstring injury he sustained in Spring Training, threw his first bullpen session on Tuesday and is getting prepared to hopefully break camp with the Tampa Yankees sometime soon.

"I threw my first bullpen today [Tuesday] and it went real well," Joba Chamberlain said of his 35-pitch session against live batters. "I'm going to throw another one on Thursday and I've got two innings on Monday [in the Extended Spring Training game]."

He tweaked his hamstring against the Phillies in his fourth Spring Training start back on April 21st, just one start shy of breaking camp with the Tampa Yankees.

"It had bothered me for a little bit," he said of his hamstring. "It's just one of those things, a first year guy coming in, you want to make a good impression. It was just one of those days it got caught and tweaked on me a little bit."

"I ended up the inning doing alright but it just kept getting tighter and tighter. It was probably better to be safe in case something happens where it gets worse and I'm out even longer."

Prior to the injury, Chamberlain had looked very impressive in camp and even surprised himself with how hard he was throwing during Spring Training, sitting mostly 93-96 MPH with his fastball and incorporating more changeups into his game plan.

"That was probably by far my best outing," he said of his final Spring Training start, "at least stuff-wise. I threw seven or eight changeups to right-handed guys and I got a couple of broken bats. I think stuff-wise it was one of my best outings from the mere fact I was working on a lot of things and having more confidence in my pitches as I was going through Spring Training."

"It's kind of one of those deals where I was glad it happened when it did because I'd rather deal with it now instead of in the middle of the season."

Always the consummate optimist, Chamberlain has made the most of his hamstring injury, using the time to smooth out his mechanics, repeat his delivery, work on landing softer on his front-side, and further developing his changeup.

"It's been a blessing in disguise just from the mere fact that I've got to work on a lot of things that I probably wouldn't have gotten a lot of time to work on if I had broke camp," he admitted. "It's been a very humbling experience in the fact that you've got to be patient and not try to be too antsy to get out there before you're ready to go."

Taking it a step further, even though he reported to his first Spring Training in great shape, he says he wasn't frustrated at all with sustaining the injury. In fact, he says the extra time he has spent at the minor league complex working his way back from the injury has been real beneficial.

"I try not to look at it as a negative because I've got to learn a lot," said Chamberlain. "I've actually had the opportunity to get in even better shape down here and get my extra running in. Everything happens for a reason, I really do believe that."

"I think it's going to help me in the long-run instead of just breaking camp, having a couple of good outings, and then have it bother me to the point where I have to say something. I think coming in great shape only helped me from the fact that those couple of days I was going to be out, I wouldn't have to play catch up and do everything again."

With no real set timetable for his return to official game action, the prevailing thought is he will remain in Extended Spring Training for another week to ten days after his two-inning stint next Monday in order to build him up to pitch four or five innings before unleashing him on the Florida State League.

"I guess chomping at the bit is kind of putting it lightly," he said how bad he wants to make his official Yankees' minor league debut. "I don't think I've ever been this prepared to pitch in a game ever in my life, just from the things that I've learned from the people I've been around for the last month."

"I think 'chomping at the bit' is an understatement of how excited and how ready I am to go help the team and get some wins under my belt."

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