After suffering a severe ankle injury while playing with his young son during the offseason, Yankees relief pitcher Joba Chamberlain, Winnebago, returned August 1 amid uncertainty that he would ever regain the form that made him an overnight sensation back in 2007. The unfortunate incident—suffered on a trampoline—came just seven months after the burly right-hander was forced out of action for the rest of the 2011 season with an elbow injury.
And the concerns over Chamberlain’s health weren’t quashed during his first nine appearances this season. He was lit up to the tune of a 10.57 ERA over 7 2/3 innings, prompting serious questions about his future as a Yankee and as a major league player.
But just as things looked their bleakest for Chamberlain—and for the Yankees, who squandered a gaudy 10-game lead in the American League East—he responded with some of his best performances in quite a while. Chamberlain has allowed just one earned run over his last seven appearances, striking out 11 while walking only one. His return couldn’t have come at a better time for the Yankees, who have slowly been righting their sinking ship, winning six times in their past 10 games and holding a one-game lead over the surprising Baltimore Orioles entering today’s action.