CLEVELAND -- Yankees right-hander Joba Chamberlain felt that familiar sensation in the back of his left leg, and warning bells might as well have gone off in his head.
When Chamberlain slipped in the wet clay of the mound at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago on Thursday, the memories of a strained hamstring that delayed the opening of his 2007 season flashed back quickly. Chamberlain tweaked his left hamstring pitching that eighth inning against the White Sox, so when the Yankees came at him with two consecutive days off, he was in no position to argue.
"[The injury was in a] different spot, but it took a month and a half," Chamberlain said Sunday. "I didn't start [for Class A Tampa] until May 7. I knew exactly what it was because I dealt with it all last year. It wasn't anything serious at all, but you just want to make sure it's OK. I don't want to go out and create anything. It could be a little achy when I go out on April 26 and be out until June."
One day after the Yankees were rather secretive with Chamberlain's availability, instead using Kyle Farnsworth and Ross Ohlendorf in the late innings of a 4-3 loss to the Indians, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that the 22-year-old right-hander would be ready to go in a similar situation if needed Sunday.
"He's available," Girardi said. "As I said [Saturday], he wasn't going to pitch because of how much we've used him. We were giving him two days off."
Chamberlain said he threw a bullpen session Saturday, tossing about 10 or 15 pitches off a mound just to stay sharp. That was an expected routine after he threw 33 pitches in the Yankees' loss on Thursday, knowing that he was going to be off at least one day anyway, regardless of the hamstring tweak, since he had logged a heavy workload of late.
"I did everything I would have done normally. I pitched four out of six days," Chamberlain said.
Chamberlain, who is 1-1 with a 1.93 ERA in eight games this year, said it was tough to be an idle observer as the Yankees went through late-inning trouble at Progressive Field on Saturday.
He had no choice but to watch Farnsworth walk the leadoff man in the eighth before working out of trouble, then see Ohlendorf load the bases before Victor Martinez's game-winning single to left.
"It is [hard], but all of our guys are talented enough to be in that position," Chamberlain said. "You want to be in that position. They battled, but it [was] April 26. It's a long season, too, so you've got to make sure everything is OK and you're 100 percent healthy."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.