Joba Chamberlain says Tommy John rehab is on track

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According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, via River Ave. Blues, Yankees right-hander Joba Chamberlain was in the New York Rangers locker room after Saturday’s game against the Flyers and told reporters that he’s currently on schedule in his rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery.

Chamberlain underwent the reconstructive elbow procedure this past June — only five months ago — and is likely to miss all or most of the 2012 season, even if he manages to avoid setbacks in his rehab.

The 26-year-old posted a promising 2.83 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 24/7 K/BB ratio in 28 2/3 innings of relief this year before tearing his ulnar collateral ligament. He’s eligible for salary arbitration this winter for the second time. He made $1.4 million in 2011.

Hideki Matsui thinks Shohei Otani should pitch and hit in MLB

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Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.

Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”

Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.

The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.