Girardi optimistic Joba will pitch this season

Girardi optimistic Joba will pitch this season

Girardi optimistic Joba will pitch this season
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Joe Girardi is optimistic that reliever Joba Chamberlain, who suffered an open dislocation and torn ligaments while jumping on a trampoline with his son, will still be able to pitch this season.

The Yankees manager based that assessment on hearing a report that the 26-year-old right-hander will soon be released from St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa and that a CT scan showed no microfractures.

"I guess he's going to get out Sunday. And that's just precautionary. The biggest fear now is just the infection. There's no more surgeries planned," Girardi said. "There were no microfractures. That's a good thing. You get a little concerned when that happens that there might be some little fractures. But there were none. We're happy about that. Now he's just got to heal."

Earlier in the day, before the team bus left Tampa for what turned out to be a 4-2 Grapefruit League win over the Tigers in 10 innings at Joker Marchant Stadium, general manager Brian Cashman told reporters that Chamberlain, based on the doctors' assessment, thought he could be on a mound again by July.

Cashman seemed to try to lower expectations.

"That's the optimistic side," he said. "The way I work this stuff, my mindset is, until they're close to knocking on the door, I [don't worry about it]. Obviously, in Joba's case, it's still a question of when he comes back. I just hope we're in a position where he can come back."

After hearing the MRI and CT results, though, Girardi said the possibility of Chamberlain throwing by July might not be that far-fetched.

"Well, if you're talking July 1 to July 15 to July 25, there's a big difference there," Girardi said. "He's going to be in a cast, I think, for six weeks. Then you start rehabbing. Six weeks is going to take you to, what, May 10? So I don't necessarily think that's out of the question.

"Maybe he goes in a walking boot a little more after that. We're going to stay positive about it. That's my nature. We're not going to rush him, because that's a very important leg. That's the push-off leg. So if we see he's not pushing off correctly, we'll back him down. But we've got to get to that point first. So far, so good. It's not where we want to be, but he's been good so far."

The Yankees hadn't expected Chamberlain, who is also recovering from Tommy John surgery, to be back in the Yankee Stadium bullpen until June.