Chamberlain's father breathing on his own, feeling better

BALTIMORE -- Joba Chamberlain's father is breathing on his own and feeling better, no longer needing a ventilator but still in critical condition and awaiting more tests.

Chamberlain missed his fifth consecutive game Friday night while attending to his stricken father in Nebraska. The hard-throwing reliever left the New York Yankees on Monday and was placed on the bereavement list, a day after Harlan Chamberlain collapsed at home.

"After several difficult days, my father is feeling much better," Chamberlain said in a statement issued by the team. "He is still in the critical care unit of the hospital and more tests await him, but he is off the ventilator and breathing on his own. Each day he's acting more and more like himself, and he's even giving people grief -- myself included -- because the hospital doesn't carry Yankees games on television."

New York isn't sure when its setup man will rejoin the team.

"When things like this occur in life, you certainly take notice of how much your teammates become more like family members," Chamberlain said. "Their unconditional support, along with that of so many fans, has made a very tough time easier to deal with."

"Everyone's love has been felt by my entire family, and it has brought great comfort to us when we have needed it most," he added. "I look forward to being reunited with my manager, coaches and teammates so I can thank each of them personally for all that they have done for my family."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said there was no timetable for Chamberlain's return.

"His father's obviously doing better, and that's a great thing. So I think we're closer to getting him. The exact date, I don't know," Girardi said. "The time has to be right for Joba, and I've told him that all along."

Girardi said Chamberlain has thrown two side sessions during his absence.

"I assume he's finding a catcher where he lives," Girardi said. "I don't know if I'd want to be that catcher; I hope the kid has some experience."

The Yankees, meanwhile, optioned reliever Jonathan Albaladejo to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before Friday's game and recalled right-hander Edwar Ramirez from the same club.

Albaladejo, acquired in a trade with Washington in December, allowed four hits and two runs in three innings in Thursday's 7-5 loss to Boston, throwing 47 pitches. It was his only appearance since being recalled Monday.

"Albie did everything we asked, he was great yesterday," Girardi said. "But we had to make sure we had some length and Edwar has not thrown for three days. He's rested."

Ramirez takes Albaladejo's spot in the bullpen. He had not allowed an earned run in six appearances at Scranton.