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Joba Chamberlain Optimistic He Can Pitch for Yankees This Season

New York Yankees Pitcher Joba Chamberlain
New York Yankees Pitcher Joba Chamberlain. Photographer: Nick Laham/Getty Images

New York Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain, who dislocated his right ankle while playing on a trampoline with his 5-year-old son, said “there is a great chance” he will return to Major League Baseball this season.

Chamberlain, 26, is on crutches and will be in a cast for six weeks. The right-hander told reporters yesterday at the Yankees’ spring training complex in Tampa, Florida, that he did not break any bones and has been infection-free.

“I felt like I let my team down,” Chamberlain said in a news conference. “But my son is my pride and joy. I think that was the biggest thing: Don’t be so hard on yourself, and realize what you’re doing to try to be a good dad.”

Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said he was not sure whether Chamberlain would be able to return in 2012.

“No one can tell you whether he’ll pitch this year or not,” Cashman told reporters. “There’s a chance he can, and there’s a chance he might not.”

Chamberlain wasn’t expected to return to the Yankees until June or July because he was recovering from elbow ligament replacement surgery last year.

“It’s going to give me more time to rehab,” the pitcher said. “It’s going to allow me to continue my shoulder strengthening and everything that goes along with that.”

In five seasons with the Yankees as a starter and reliever, Chamberlain has a 20-13 record with an earned run average of 3.70. He will be paid $1.7 million this year and can become a free agent after the 2013 season.

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