Chamberlain, Cashman disagree on severity of injury

Yankees relief pitcher Joba Chamberlain, who injured his Yankees relief pitcher Joba Chamberlain, who injured his right ankle while jumping on a trampoline with his son, wears his hospital bracelets as he speaks to reporters. (March 27, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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TAMPA, Fla. -- Speaking Tuesday night for the first time since suffering a serious ankle injury Thursday in a trampoline accident, Joba Chamberlain, in an attempt to clarify exactly what happened, initially confused things somewhat.

Chamberlain disputed what Brian Cashman told reporters Friday, when he said the pitcher had suffered an "open dislocation" of his right ankle. Chamberlain said instead that he had a "subtalar dislocation" and that the bone had never been exposed.

But Cashman, who received a flurry of calls after Chamberlain spoke, said the reliever indeed had suffered what the GM first reported Friday.

"It was an open dislocation of the subtalar joint," said Cashman, who double-checked with the team doctor Tuesday night after Chamberlain spoke and before he addressed reporters in the press box as the game against the Blue Jays began. "In layman's terms, an open dislocation of his right ankle. But he had an open dislocation."

Meaning skin was compromised, although there was no fracture.

"There was exposed bone and stuff like that from his heel because the skin got compromised," Cashman said. "I talked to the doctor to reconfirm and then I went to Joba to reconfirm. And both Joba and the doctor were on the same page."

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Still, Chamberlain seemed intent on downplaying the severity of the injury. It occurred after an awkward landing when he and his 5-year-old son, Karter, had an entire floor of trampolines to themselves at a local indoor amusement center.

He believes he will pitch again this season. Cashman didn't rule that out, although he said it's still far too early to project.

"There's a chance he can and there's a chance he might not," Cashman said. "Could he be back as soon as this year? Yes. Could be back next year? Yes. Is this something that could be a real issue for him going forward [that] he never gets back? Yes. But I'm optimistic the best-case scenario will work out."

Chamberlain gently scolded reporters for some of the dire reports that emerged Friday, with one claiming the injury was "life-threatening."

"It's one of those things where I know there wasn't a lot that you guys had out there when it happened," he said. "But it's one of those things that bothers me, too, that people are calling me and asking me if it's life-threatening and if I was going to lose my foot. There was no bone even out of my ankle. It was something that bothered me to have my family go through that."

Chamberlain, who will be in a cast for the next six weeks, said "there was blood" but "it wasn't like it was squirting and spewing." Earlier, he said, "It wasn't that painful. It really wasn't."

Cashman saw a picture of the wound. "You'd be shocked if you saw what I saw," he said. "You'd be shocked."

Chamberlain, 26, was ahead of schedule in his recovery from elbow surgery -- he was due back in mid- to late June. He said he isn't feeling sorry for himself or regretting participating in the activity with his son.

"I've never questioned being a father," he said, breaking down momentarily. "I felt like I let my team down, to be perfectly honest with you, and that's the most frustrating part. But when I look back and realize what was going on, I will never question being a father. This game is very important to me, it allows me to do a lot of things. But my son is my pride and joy."

Cashman, as has been the case several times since the accident, said he wouldn't second-guess Chamberlain, although when pressed he appeared to backtrack a bit.

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"Should better judgment to avoid that?" Cashman said. "I don't want to deal with that at this stage . . . I'm just not choosing to pile on someone that's dealing with a great deal right now."

Chamberlain called the setback "just another hill that I've had to climb," referencing his Tommy John operation last June 16 that was followed by two stomach operations -- for appendicitis and for an infection -- within the next 25 days.

"I'm going to get stronger physically and mentally," he said. "It's just another thing in the book of Joba that's continued to grow. Add another chapter. Hopefully, there's a few more chapters to come on the good side."

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