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Joba to undergo reconstructive elbow surgery

Joba to undergo reconstructive elbow surgery

Joba to undergo reconstructive elbow surgery
NEW YORK -- Joba Chamberlain had almost forgotten there was an issue with his pitching elbow when he woke up Friday morning, at least until the flurry of text messages on his phone reminded him.

He will have plenty of time to pound out responses. Chamberlain has been scheduled for Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow, which will end his season and is likely to cost him at least the beginning of 2012.

"It's easy to deal with," Chamberlain said. "I know I've got to get better. It's not life or death. I'm just happy that I can fix it and come back and be stronger for it. Hopefully, I'll have a long career."

The Yankees said that Chamberlain will leave the team on Wednesday and is set to have the procedure performed on Thursday by Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla. The expected recovery time is 10 to 14 months.

"Generally, you see these guys and it's around a year when you have Tommy John," manager Joe Girardi said. "I'm not sure when we'll get him back, but we'll get him back as soon as we can."

Chamberlain was diagnosed with a complete tear of the medial collateral ligament in his right elbow on Thursday, and he underwent a dye contrast MRI exam later in the day that confirmed the Tommy John recommendation.

"This is a surgery that a lot of people have," Chamberlain said. "People understand that you can come back from this. Surgery is just one-third of this; the rehab is two-thirds of what's going on. That's the most important part.

"And obviously the guy doing it has done it a few times, so I'm pretty confident that he'll do a good job. The rest lies on me and making sure that I get back to what I can be and stronger."

Chamberlain said that he feels no pain, with the only physical indication of the injury coming on Tuesday, when he felt tightness near his right forearm and mentioned the issue to the Yankees' training staff.

Chamberlain said that he has spoken with several people in the Yankees' clubhouse who have gone through the rehabilitation process, including pitchers A.J. Burnett and Lance Pendleton, as well as coaching assistant Brett Weber.

"It's long -- that's about it," Chamberlain said. "Everybody's different. Some people's pain threshold is better, some are worse, some people take longer and some take shorter. You just have surgery and make sure it goes well."

Chamberlain is the third Yankees reliever this year to be sent to Andrews, but he will be the first to actually undergo surgery. Rafael Soriano and Pedro Feliciano have also paid visits to Andrews' Pensacola, Fla., office, but thus far, only rehab has been recommended for those pitchers.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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