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Joba says he's ready to help Yankees during stretch run

NEW YORK -- 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.

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.

The 22-year-old right-hander, who was moved from the bullpen to the rotation earlier this year, 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."

The Yankees are leaning on their bullpen as they try to keep pace with Boston for the AL wild card. Manager Joe Girardi used five relievers in the final three innings of a 2-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night, with Mariano Rivera getting the final five outs.

It was the first time all season that Rivera had been used for more than one inning on consecutive days, but Girardi said he isn't concerned about exhausting his All-Star closer or the bullpen.

"That's the way you have to manage now. If you did this in April and May, you may run the risk of burning people out," Girardi said. "But they have not been overworked. They've been good for us."

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 Girardi, who only smiled when asked if Chamberlain could be ready Monday for the makeup of a rained out game at Detroit. "Obviously we'll see how he feels tomorrow and we'll discuss it.

"Pitchers always say they're ready," Girardi added.

The Yankees also hope to get Dan Giese back from his own bout with shoulder tendinitis.

The rookie right-hander, who is 1-3 with a 2.58 ERA but hasn't pitched since Aug. 13, will throw a bullpen session on Tuesday.

"I definitely believe we'll get him back," Girardi said.