If Joba Chamberlain had never taken his son on a trampoline there is a very good chance that he would be pitching for the Yankees right now. As it stands, they still don’t know if he will pitch this season, but he has begun throwing off a half-mound and his manager Joe Girardi thinks he can still pitch this year.
“I’m sure he can move around enough,” Girardi told Chad Jennings of the Journal News. “I don’t think he’s at the stage where he’s sprinting yet, but he can move around well enough to do his bullpens, yeah. … I’ve always said, I believe that he’ll be back. Now, I’m no doctor, no rehab therapist, but just knowing Joba, I believe he’s going to be back for us this year.”
Joba was recovering from Tommy John Surgery and told not to participate in any physical activity while he did so. He didn’t listen and got hurt, but luckily for him he did no damage to his arm. So at this point, his surgically repaired elbow is more like an afterthought. The big thing now is his ankle. It’s got to be rehabbed and it can’t be rushed.
A pitchers legs are a very important part of what they do. Joba needs his ankle at 100 percent, not 80 or 90 percent. He needs all of his power to push off. He needs to be sure that when he sprints across the field to cover first that it won’t be taking anything out of him. Anything less than 100 percent is just going to cause him to have a setback. So while Girardi is optimistic, he can’t be sure until Joba is back and fully healthy.
At this point, if he does return, a September return seems the most likely. Another two full months for his ankle to heal doesn’t seem out of the question and then he’s going to need time to prepare for the big leagues. He’s a reliever so he won’t need the six or seven weeks that Andy Pettitte needed before his return, but three to four weeks doesn’t seem unreasonable. This is all speculation of course, but the last thing the Yankees will do is rush him and risk hurting him further.