Joba Chamberlain didn’t have much of a 2012 season. During the offseason, Chamberlain suffered an injury to his right ankle during a trampoline accident. Some questioned the reliever’s intentions because this was a risky move with the regular season quickly approaching especially since Chamberlain was also recovering from Tommy John surgery. Yet, you just couldn’t get mad at Joba for wanting to have a good time with his son, Karter. After spending time on the disabled list, Chamberlain returned to the club Aug. 1 against the Baltimore Orioles.
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On his recovery back to the Majors, Joba faced many trials — bullpen sessions, simulated games and minor league rehab assignments. In his first rehab assignment in early July, Chamberlain struck out two in one inning of work. His fastball hit 97 MPH, meaning regaining velocity wasn’t going to be an issue for him.
Later that month, Chamberlain topped out in triple digits. Chamberlain reached 100 MPH on his fastball and Girardi had nice things to say about how well his rehab was going.
“I don’t think it could have gone any more smoothly,’’ Girardi said of the four-game rehab stint that continues Tuesday. “He has thrown two innings [in one game] and 32 pitches [Friday]. I don’t see how it could be any better.’
As if recovering from Tommy John surgery wasn’t enough, injuring his ankle didn’t help the cause. To me, Chamberlain getting back to New York in 2012 was successful enough. No matter how he did in his small sample size I was going to take Chamberlain’s season with a grain of salt. How could you possibly judge a guy who threw only 20.2 innings? Impossible.
Early in his return Chamberlain struggled with hitters as shown by his 8.59 ERA and 2.727 WHIP in August. At the time this was expected. Rarely ever do you see a pitcher come off what is usually career altering surgery and just pitch lights out. As he received more work when the calendar turned to September, Chamberlain began to mold back into form. Once his control improved, it allowed Chamberlain to re-establish himself as a solid back end reliever.
- Must find a way to stay on the field
- Quick healer
- Shows excellent effort
- Trampoline skills need improvement
Final Grade: B-
I find it difficult to give Chamberlain a grade at all. It might be time for him to repeat this grade. All kidding aside, Joba showed us that he can improve after a bad month. His ability and work ethic is unquestioned after he showed us how quick he was able to heal and get back to the majors. Tommy John surgery is no joke and Chamberlain came back fairly quickly from it combined with a busted ankle. If Chamberlain is able to stay off the disabled list in 2013, the Yankees could once again have a dominant bullpen; a strength of theirs since 2009.