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.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.