Joba: Knowing return is near is 'awesome'

Joba: Knowing return is near is 'awesome'

NEW YORK -- Joba Chamberlain said he felt good a day after throwing 30 pitches over 1 1/3 innings for Double-A Trenton, where he will return Tuesday for his second rehab appearance at Waterfront Park.

Chamberlain allowed one hit and struck out three Sunday, with his fastball between 94 and 98 mph, and offspeed pitches "a little harder than I expected."

"The report we got on him yesterday is that he's continued to improve," said manager Joe Girardi. "His command has gotten better. His breaking balls have gotten sharper. I think that's the important thing. His stuff was pretty good yesterday."

The Yankees will likely try to have Chamberlain enter the Thunder's game against Altoona with runners on base -- the lone situation Chamberlain has yet to see over seven rehab appearances between Trenton, the GCL Yankees and Class A Advanced Tampa. They tried to insert Chamberlain into that situation Sunday, but a double play left the bases empty when he entered in the seventh. Chamberlain did encounter something new when he warmed up in the sixth, sat down, then warmed up again and entered with two outs in the seventh.

He rejoined his teammates at Yankee Stadium before their game against the Orioles on Monday and ran, lifted, and played catch, and said he feels ready to return.

"I feel like Usain Bolt right now, just not quite that fast," said Chamberlain when asked if he sees a finish line. "Just to know it's there and the hard work's paid off, and to know there is an end in sight, is awesome."