When Joba Chamberlain first dislocated his right ankle back in March, he was considered a long shot to pitch this season. However, it’s now a realistic possibility that he could rejoin the Yankees’ bullpen within the next few weeks.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi told Marc Carig of the Newark Star Ledger yesterday that Chamberlain could begin a minor league rehab assignment as soon as Tuesday. The 26-year-old right-hander threw a simulated game yesterday and should be cleared for a rehab stint if he makes it through a bullpen session tomorrow with no issues.
Chamberlain would likely need most of his 30-day rehab window to get tuned up for a return to the majors, but Girardi hasn’t dismissed the possibility that he could be activated sooner. He hasn’t thrown a pitch in the majors since undergoing Tommy John surgery last June.
The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.
Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”
Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.
Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.