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.
Phil Hughes was officially designated for assignment by the Twins on Tuesday, the culmination of multiple injury-plagued seasons and poor performance.
Things couldn’t have started out much better for Hughes in Minnesota. The former Yankees hurler joined the Twins on a three-year, $24 million contract in December of 2013 and reeled off a 3.52 ERA over 32 starts during his first season with the club. He set the MLB record (which still stands, by the way) for single season strikeout-to-walk ratio and even received some downballot Cy Young Award consideration. The big year resulted in the two sides ripping up their previous agreement with a new five-year, $58 million deal, but it was all downhill after that.
Hughes took a step back with a 4.40 ERA in 2015 and struggled with a 5.95 ERA over 11 starts and one relief appearance in 2016 before undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. He wasn’t any better upon his return last year, putting up a 5.87 ERA in nine starts and five relief appearances. Hughes missed time with a biceps issue and required a thoracic outlet revision surgery in August. He began this year on the disabled list with an oblique injury, only to put up a 6.75 ERA over two starts and five relief appearances before the Twins decided to turn the page this week.
Hughes is still owed the remainder of his $13.2 million salary for this year and another $13.2 million next year. The deal didn’t work out as anyone would have hoped, but unfortunately this is another case of health just not cooperating.