Famed New York hurler Joba Chamberlain faced four batters and reached 97 mph while pitching one inning in his first rehab appearance yesterday with the Gulf Coast League Yankees in Bradenton, Florida.
The 26-year-old Chamberlain, who has amassed a 20-13 record with a 3.70 ERA for his career since debuting with the Bombers in August 2007, suffered a severely dislocated right ankle bouncing on a trampoline with his son at a Tampa jump center on March 22.
Chamberlain, who needed surgery and was in a cast for six-weeks, is expected to return to East 161st and River Avenue in the Bronx by early-August.
“It’s the start of the rehab process, so hopefully we get him back no later than the first week of August,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “It’s just one outing and against a level that you can’t tell much from. But that’s what we know he’s capable of throwing.”
The powerful Native American, who in January signed a one-year non-guaranteed contract worth approximately $1.675 million, is also still rehabilitating from elbow replacement surgery and wasn’t even expected to take the hill until June at the earliest prior to the nearly catastrophic incident this spring.
Few athletes in the annals of Gotham have exploded onto the sports scene like Chamberlain did with his electrifying stuff and presence on the mound.
Regrettably, due to pink pampering and poor luck, the player the Yankees selected with the 41st overall selection in the 2006 Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft out of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln has experienced a power outage basically since insects attacked him in Cleveland.
Chamberlain, whose loving father is crippled from a battle with polio and whose mother is a struggling dope fiend, seemed to be a rise to riches fairytale.
Fortunately, despite encountering numerous obstacles, the 6-foot-2, 240-pound right-hander is positioning himself to reemerge as a Big Apple phenomenon.
“I hope he gives us a boost,” Cashman said. “We just want to keep him healthy and get him up here safely as soon as we can.”
The charismatic flamethrower will do more than “boost” the Bombers.
When autumn arrives and the playoffs commence, a rested, and rejuvenated, Joba Chamberlain will again prove what “he’s capable of throwing” and dominate batters at a clip unlike any other since arriving in New York five years ago.