TAMPA, Fla. -- There is a puffy violet scar on Joba Chamberlain's right elbow, peeking out from underneath a shredded long-sleeve T-shirt, and it serves as a daily reminder of how his 2011 season ended.
But as Chamberlain follows his road back from the Tommy John surgery he had performed in June, the Yankees reliever said that he has been able to look back and appreciate that setback in a positive light.
"This injury was the greatest thing that could ever happen to me -- I was able to see my son's first day of school," Chamberlain said on Friday.
"There's no amount of money or world championships that can compare to watching my [Karter] walk into school for the first time. I wouldn't have been able to do that if it wasn't for this surgery. That, I'm very thankful for."
It's safe to say that when an MRI examination revealed Chamberlain's torn elbow ligament, he wasn't quite so chipper. But Chamberlain has experienced no issues as he progresses, and the Yankees will have him throwing 35 pitches from a half-mound three times next week.
"I've been very blessed to not have anything go wrong," Chamberlain said. "I've got to give credit to Dr. [James] Andrews and his staff. I moved down to Pensacola [Fla.] and they challenged me every day with something different. I can't thank them enough for what they did for me."
Chamberlain lived in Pensacola from September to December and said that it was a refreshing change. While there, he said that he rehabbed with a wide variety of athletes, from pro football players to high school soccer players and weekend warriors.
"It was fun for me because I got to see a different dynamic," Chamberlain said. "When you're getting treatment, it's always your teammates and your friends. It's something you get used to. It was nice to get away from the environment, just chill out and get my work in."