By Sweeny Murti
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Joba Chamberlain took a big step Tuesday morning in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. Chamberlain stepped all the way to the top of a bullpen mound and cut loose 16 fastballs. It’s the first time he has done that since injuring his elbow last June.
Joba is almost 8 ½ months removed from the operating room, and the Yankees believe they can give it a full 12 months and see him sometime in June or even later. Joba would like to speed that along, but there’s only so much he can do about that.
The Yankees have enough bullpen depth to carry them a long ways, with David Robertson and a healthy Rafael Soriano setting up for Mariano Rivera. When Joba returns, the Yankees hope to have the best bullpen in baseball. That’s why they will take their time and make sure Chamberlain is 100% before he takes the mound for real.
Incidentally, David Aardsma has reported to Tampa, where he will rehab from his own Tommy John surgery last July. Since his surgery was about one month after Joba’s, his timetable to return would also be about a month after Joba, although the rehab process is not the same for everyone so that schedule could differ. Aardsma, the former Mariners closer signed by the Yankees last week, said Tuesday that he was hoping to return sometime around the All-Star Break, but again the Yankees will not be rushing him back.