Ankle surgery fells Joba
The news about David Robertson’s foot injury was a relief. Other injuries to Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher, Freddy Garcia and Eduardo Nunez proved to be the usual aches and pains sustained during spring training. The Joba Chamberlain situation is far more dire.
Chamberlain required surgery Friday on a severely dislocated right ankle, an operation of life-threatening urgency because of the blood loss resulting from the trauma. What ramifications this will have on the relief pitcher’s season remains to be seen, but it appears clear that the Yankees will not be able to count on him for some time, perhaps not at all in 2012.
“A significant injury” is what Yankees general manager Brian Cashman called it.
The stunning circumstance occurs to a player who was making a satisfactory recovery from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow that has kept him inactive since last June. Chamberlain was not expected to start the season for the Yankees, but he had made sufficient enough progress that Cashman and manager Joe Girardi were encouraged that the popular righthander could be a factor in the first half.
Now this. Since Chamberlain was to have stayed in Tampa after the Yankees broke camp, his trip to the disabled list does not affect the pitching staff at this point. Robertson and Rafael Soriano remain in line to handle the setup role in front of Mariano Rivera. Yet you can’t have too many arms, and Chamberlain coming back to bolster the bullpen in May or June was a very nice thing for a general manager and manager to think about when reinforcements are always welcome.
Chamberlain’s injury is also a reminder of how athletes need to be careful off the field. All that was known Friday was that Chamberlain was with his son at a play area in Tampa. Sounds innocent enough, but accidents can happen anywhere. At this point, the Yankees are more concerned about Chamberlain’s condition than for the reason for it.