Joba Chamberlain: Is New York Yankees Pitcher Ahead of Schedule in His Recovery?

Bill FordCorrespondent IIIMay 15, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 29:  Joba Chamberlain of the New York Yankees looks on during their game against the Milwaukee Brewers on June 29, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

We all remember March 22, 2012. While playing with his kid on a trampoline, New York Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain suffered a nasty and gruesome ankle injury dislocating his ankle causing the bones to protrude through the skin.

Chamberlain had been on the verge of a potential comeback after going through extensive rehabilitation after Tommy John surgery.

As terrible as his ankle injury was, it appears that he is recovering quite well and more quickly than expected. The Yankees have placed Chamberlain on the 60-day disabled list, which is a good sign about his recovery.

Just seven weeks have passed since the incident occurred, and he is already walking without a boot. To protect his ankle while moving around, he currently uses a basketball ankle brace.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said, "It's definitely possible we’ll see Joba back on a mound this year, though I still think that’s pretty optimistic."

Joe Girardi seems to think that it is possible, as well.

Chamberlain believes that he will be back on the mound for the Yankees in 2012 and said, "It's going to take a lot of things to keep me from doing that. But you have to be patient and understand it's a process."

He made an appearance in the clubhouse last week before a game and played catch. He's been playing catch regularly and made 50 throws in a rehabilitation session.

The Yankees organization has no intention of rushing him and getting him back on the mound too soon. They have stated that they won't rush him and they'll give him the proper amount of time to rehabilitate and recover.

Although they don't intend to rush him, they will probably make certain that his rehabilitation program progresses along relatively quickly. The recent injury that Mariano Rivera sustained will likely keep him out all of 2012.

Phil Hughes has showed some signs of life, but he has not done well so far this season. Freddy Garcia has been a letdown. The Yankees need Chamberlain to get back on the mound.

His injury has been difficult for the entire Yankees clubhouse and organization, but some good may come from it in the end. Chamberlain has trimmed down and lost some weight, which he needed to do. Rehabilitation will get him into better overall shape.

Once Chamberlain is back and ready to pitch, he should have increased strength and stamina from all of the rehabilitation, strength and conditioning programs that he has gone through during the recovery process.

Rivera's injury is a painful loss for everyone. No one will ever take his place or fill his shoes. The Yankees will need multiple pitchers to work collectively to make up for that loss.

Chamberlain's return should have a huge effect on the success of the pitching staff. With the devastation of Rivera's injury, Chamberlain's return would be a nice boost for the morale of the pitching staff, and the team as a whole.

If his recovery continues to progress as quickly as it has been, he could be ready to take the mound by mid-July. Even with the two injuries that he has dealt with, we could see a new and improved Chamberlain take the mound and get the chance to make that comeback that he should have made in April.

Some may think that he'll be ready by mid-June, but I think that June is too early, and could potentially cause him to re-injure his ankle or his elbow.

Keep an eye on Chamberlain's progress. The Yankees need him to be back in top form, and he has a good chance to do just that.