Joba confident, feels great as next rehab stint looms

Joba confident, feels great as next rehab stint looms

NEW YORK -- Joba Chamberlain is scheduled to make his next Minor League rehabilitation appearance on Sunday for the Double-A Trenton Thunder, and his move to the Northeast has brightened the right-hander's optimism that a big league return is not far off.

Chamberlain threw a bullpen session on Friday at Yankee Stadium in front of the Yankees' coaching staff and said he may enter in mid-inning when he pitches against the Harrisburg Senators at Trenton's Waterfront Park. Chamberlain said he has been clocked between 94 and 100 mph in his rehab appearances and feels close to joining New York's bullpen.

"I never had any doubt whatsoever," Chamberlain said. "Obviously the surgery is only a third of it; the rehab is two-thirds. I've never been one to shy away from hard work and prove people wrong. It's going to be awesome to put this uniform on again and pitch for this team."

Chamberlain is returning from Tommy John surgery performed last June and an open dislocation of his right ankle suffered this spring. He has allowed one earned run and three hits over eight Minor League innings (1.12 ERA) spanning six games -- three with the Gulf Coast Yankees and three with Class A Tampa. The 26-year-old has walked one and struck out seven.

"I got challenged every day," Chamberlain said. "They never gave me more than two weeks in advance, because they knew if they gave me more, I'd probably try to skip a week. I know how my body is; I know how to push myself. My ankle is strong, and I've got to continue to work and not let up on anything we've done to this point."