Joba Chamberlain is with the team for a couple of days before traveling to Trenton to pitch for the Yankees' Double-A team on Sunday in preparation for an expected early August return.
Joba seemed excited to be back around his teammates, and was enthusiastic about his fastball, which he said has ranged from "94 to 100" in his three outings with the Single-A Gulf Coast Yankees, in which he allowed three hits, one earned run, struck out seven and walked only one in three innings of work.
Chamberlain, 26, underwent both Tommy John surgery and an appendectomy last June, then had a setback in his recovery when he dislocated an ankle while jumping on a trampoline with his young son in March.
There was one recurring theme in Chamberlain's 10-minute chat with the beat writers Friday afternoon: His desire to "prove wrong'' the people "who said I wouldn't get this far, that I'd never pitch again.''
Asked to identify who exactly had said he would never pitch again, Joba said, "That’s all I heard. From doctors, and from people that were supposedly doctors.''
"Well, not necessarily doctors, but it was always people. And it's human nature. If somebody says so many things so many times it gets stuck in your head. It was one of those things where I was gonna go prove people wrong. I was gonna do everything I could to get back.''
How many people?
"It was maybe not a lot of people,'' he said. "But if there's one person, that's one too damned many.''
As Andrew Marchand wrote in First Pitch, Joba likes to use criticism as a motivator. And right now, he sounds super-motivated.