Notebook: Joba takes another step

DETROIT -- Joba Chamberlain was back on the mound Saturday.

Well, half of one, at least.

Manager Joe Girardi said Chamberlain -- recovering from a torn ligament and right ankle dislocation --threw from a half-mound. "Everything went well there," Girardi said. "Hard for me to put a percentage on it, but it wasn't 100 percent."

Chamberlain is wearing an ankle brace you can buy at a drugstore, according to Girardi. "It's not some crazy contraption," he said.

Girardi said he always believed that Chamberlain would make it back at some point this season. "Now, I'm no doctor, no rehab therapist, but just knowing Joba," he said. "I just believe he'll be back for us this year."

There's still a long road ahead. And while it's a good step in the right direction, it isn't like Chamberlain is starting spring training. "It's probably a little bit before [that]," Girardi said. "Just because there are some other hurdles that he's going to have to clear and a pitcher wouldn't normally come in and do a half-mound the first day of spring training."

In all, Chamberlain threw about 20 to 25 pitches.

BULLPEN BOOST: The Yankees will ultimately benefit from the injuries that sidelined both Mariano Rivera and David Robertson, according to Girardi.

He was pleased with his bullpen after they allowed just one run in the Yankees' 9-4 victory on Friday night. "One thing it does is gives us a lot of confidence, that they can do that," he said. "You start getting guys back and it's almost like making trades later on."

FEELING FOR TERRY: Girardi said he felt for Mets manager Terry Collins on Friday night.

Girardi said it wasn't an easy decision to let Johan Santana throw 134 pitches en route to a no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals, the first no-no in Mets history.

"It's a terrible call,'' said Girardi, who two years ago said he was going to pull CC Sabathia after eight innings even if he had a no-hitter. "Here's the thing that goes through your head. You don't want to be the guy that ruins the guy's chance for a no-hitter. But you also don't want to be the guy that ruins the chance for your team in the postseason because you let a guy go too long and he ends up having to go on the DL for a month or two months or worst-case scenario, has to have surgery."

PORCELLO HITTABLE: Coming into Saturday night's game, Tigers starter Rick Porcello had been hit around by the Yankees in his career. He was 2-2 with a 5.56 ERA. The Yankees rapped 24 hits off him in just 22 2/3 innings of work. Robinson Cano had five hits in 11 at-bats (.455). Cano had a two-out single in the first inning.

ROAD HOGS: Coming into Saturday night, the Yankees were averaging 5.12 runs per game on the road. That mark was fourth-best in the majors.