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Sweeny: Joba Chamberlain On Comeback Trail

Joba Chamberlain (credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Joba Chamberlain (credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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By Sweeny Murti
» More Columns

Joba Chamberlain could very well pitch again this season, if only to tell all of us who doubted him to stick it.

Chamberlain was in the visiting clubhouse at Tropicana Field Monday.  Earlier in the day he threw a 40-pitch bullpen session and later this week will pitch in a simulated game.  Joba is getting closer and closer, it would appear, to returning to the Yankees.  An August return does not appear unrealistic at this point.

Joba was in good spirits as he spoke to reporters in the clubhouse Monday.  But, even though he still has not thrown a major league pitch since June 5, 2011–because of Tommy John surgery, plus last March’s ankle injury—Joba still had a little “I told ya so” in him as he talked about coming back:

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There are few people I’ve met that carry more of a positive attitude day-to-day than Chamberlain, but I still found it hard to believe that he didn’t have even a second of doubt following the trampoline accident this past spring:

The Yankees are hoping for second half returns not only of Chamberlain, but also Brett Gardner and Andy Pettitte.  They will likely be more important than any move they could hope to make at the trade deadline.

*Worried about Robinson Cano in the second half because of the All-Star Home Run Derby?  Don’t be.  Last year Cano hit 15 HRs with .863 OPS before the break, and 13 HRs with .905 OPS after the break.

All you have to do is look at a replay of the swing that won him the Derby last year.  Trying to hit a home run and win the whole thing, he didn’t swing out of his shoes.  He stayed smooth and balanced right through.  It’s the same smooth swing you saw 11 times in June and 20 times already this season.  Don’t worry about Cano.  Worry about the competition.

robinson cano hr derby Sweeny: Joba Chamberlain On Comeback Trail

(credit: Norm Hall/Getty Images)

*Yankees fans in other cities need to leave the Roll Call duties to the original Bleacher Creatures in the Bronx.  Monday night at Tropicana Field a few rowdy fans—couldn’t have been more than a half-dozen—started a roll call for the visiting Yankees in the bottom of the first.

When they got to shortstop the Tampa area revelers chanted for Laynce Nix.  Okay, quite observant since Derek Jeter was the DH.  However, the Yankee shortstop happened to be Jayson Nix, not Laynce.  With a half-hearted wave, Jayson appeared willing to oblige the “loyal” fans who were calling him by his brother’s name, also a major leaguer.  Currently on Philadelphia’s DL, Laynce was actually in the stands Monday night.  I’m not sure if he had the urge to stand up and wave.

Roll Call Rule #1:  Know the names of the players on the field.

Sweeny Murti

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When do you expect Joba to return? Be heard in the comments below…