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Joba throws pain-free bullpen session

Joba's bullpen session

BALTIMORE -- Joba Chamberlain took the mound Saturday afternoon for a bullpen session in Camden Yards, and the Yankees' 22-year-old flamethrower had to give himself a reality check.

"I had to actually look around on the mound out there to make sure I knew what I was doing," Chamberlain said. "You don't think you're gone that long, but then you get back on and it seems like you're throwing a mile away. But you get that peace of mind to know you can throw it and it still feels good."

Chamberlain did just that on Saturday, throwing 35 fastballs and changeups, 20 out of the stretch and 15 from the windup. It was the second bullpen session the right-hander has thrown, rehabbing rotator cuff tendinitis in his throwing shoulder.

Chamberlain reported no pain after the session and will take a day off on Sunday before throwing between 40 and 50 pitches on Monday -- this time also mixing some curveballs and sliders into his repertoire.

Manager Joe Girardi was very encouraged by Chamberlain's session on Saturday, reporting that the pitcher looked "great" on the mound. He also left no question that Chamberlain would be back on the Yankees' active roster before season's end.

"I'm not worried about Joba," Girardi said. "He's going to pitch for us again in the big leagues. That expectation is there for him. I don't really have any concerns. We all have tendinitis, that's the bottom line. You go look at any pitcher in there, and he probably has some tendinitis. I don't really have any doubts that he's going to pitch this year."

Whether he will be pitching as a starter or a reliever, however, remains to be decided, as Girardi stressed that the Yankees are not going to rush their young hurler off the disabled list.

"We've envisioned him as a starter," Girardi said. "But we've got to see how the rehab goes and where he's at and how much time we have left. We just take it a day at a time with Joba, because this is not someone that you can rush."

"I'm pretty much open to anything at this point," Chamberlain said when asked what his role will be when he returns to form. "I just want to get back in and try to help this ballclub win, any way we can do it, and try to get us back to where we were."

Amanda Comak is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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