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Chamberlain getting closer to game action

07/02/2012 4:21 PM ET
By YESNetwork.com staff

Joba Chamberlain’s remarkable recovery from an ankle injury suffered in March – while working his way back from Tommy John surgery – is about to take another significant step forward. After throwing a pair of 20-pitch segments during his third batting practice session Monday in Tampa, Fla., Chamberlain told The Associated Press he’s scheduled to throw a simulated game on Friday.

“Especially after today with the way I felt, the way my command was, I 100 percent believe I can get big-league hitters out right now,'' Chamberlain said. ”That's half the battle, saying you can do it. We're over that hump. I felt like today was my best day, overall.

“Everything is good. The ankle is taken care of. The ankle is fine. My elbow is, obviously, great. I just have to continue to maintain those two good feelings and get back into some games.”

As timing has it, the Yankees are in the area for a three-game set against the Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla., which allowed manager Joe Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild to observe Chamberlain parttake in defensive drills. A healthy and successful return would fortify a Yankees bullpen that may also get David Aardsma back – Aardsma’s 30-day rehab clock could reset next week after he was shut down due to elbow pain – by August.

“Another step,” Chamberlain said.

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