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Rare good news for Yanks: Joba near return

NEW YORK — RHP Joba Chamberlain breezed through 35 pitches while facing batters in a simulated game Saturday, saying he's ready to rejoin the Yankees for the stretch run, though likely too late to do much for New York's negligible playoff hopes.

On the disabled list with rotator cuff tendinitis, Chamberlain said he threw all of his pitches.

"The biggest hurdle is just getting over the fact that you were out a little bit because of stuff going on in your shoulder," Chamberlain said. "You just have to be smart about your body and how it feels."

He also threw 45 pitches off a mound on Thursday and reported no lingering problems between sessions.

Chamberlain, 22, who was moved from the bullpen to the rotation earlier this season, said he doesn't know when he'll be activated but plans to return to relief duty.

"Wherever they need me," he said. "We're going to see how it reacts, and the way it has been is good. Hopefully I'll have an opportunity to get in there soon."

Chamberlain hasn't pitched since leaving a start Aug. 4 at Texas with discomfort in his right shoulder. He is 4-3 with a 2.63 ERA in 32 games this season, including 12 starts.

"He looked good to me," said manager Joe Girardi, who only smiled when asked if Chamberlain could be ready for the makeup of a rained out game Monday at Detroit. "Obviously we'll see how he feels (today) and we'll discuss it."

CHIPPER HANGING TOUGH: Chipper Jones hopes his ailing right elbow won't stop him from winning his first batting title.

The Braves 3B was leading the majors with a .358 average entering Saturday night's games despite a series of injuries. His biggest problem lately has been a balky right elbow.

"It's really, really painful," Jones said.

Jones said it's not a structural problem, and it bothers him on some throws and occasionally when he extends the elbow at the plate. "It makes you want to cry," he said.

Jones has missed 24 games because of injuries. He was on the disabled list from July 24 to Aug. 8 with a strained left hamstring.

STAIRS TO JOIN PHILS: The Blue Jays traded veteran OF Matt Stairs to the Phillies, giving them a left-handed bat for the stretch run. Stairs, 40, is batting .250 with a .342 on-base percentage and a .394 slugging percentage in 105 games. Toronto received a player to be named, likely a minor-league pitcher.

BATTLE FOR ECKSTEIN: The Angels and Diamondbacks are both interested in trading for Blue Jays INF David Eckstein, reported. Both teams have suffered injuries to middle infielders this month.

ATHLETICS: DH Frank Thomas went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right quadriceps. The team made the announcement less than two hours before the start of its game.

MARLINS: Struggling closer Kevin Gregg said he's taking a break to rest a sore left knee that has bothered him the past three or four weeks. The ailment hadn't been disclosed and may explain why the right-hander is 0-4 with a 16.20 ERA in his past seven outings. "Unfortunately I think I made a bad decision of trying to play through some inflammation in my knee, and it has cost me and cost the team a couple of games," Gregg said.

ORIOLES: 3B Melvin Mora is expected to be sidelined about a week after straining his left hamstring Friday against the Rays.

REDS: RHP Ramon Ramirez was recalled from Triple-A Louisville and made his major-league debut against the Giants. INF Adam Rosales was optioned to Louisville for the second time in two weeks.

Rare good news for Yanks: Joba near return 08/30/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 2:48pm]
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